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Between the Lines

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At the offices of a Boston alternative newspaper, the staff members enjoy a positive and open-minded work environment. Music critic Max (Jeff Goldblum) uses his influence to score dates, while news reporter Harry (John Heard) is dating the lovely Abbie (Lindsay Crouse), the publication’s lead photographer. However, it seems as though their relatively carefree days are numbered when the owner of a major publishing company buys the paper, leading to more money, but even more changes.

Between the Lines comes across as a lament for the death of counterculture journalism. But Silver’s film—bristling with a loose, nervy energy that she corrals in expertly—is also a comedy about how ideals persist and replenish themselves. One of a wave of women emerging as distinctive just-off-mainstream film-makers in the ’70s—others being Claudia Weill, Joan Darling, and Joan Tewkesbury—Silver is best known for two Jewish-themed stories about women in New York, Hester Street (1975) and Crossing Delancey (1988). Between the Lines isn’t quite as female-centered as either, more an ensemble piece revolving around various heterosexual workplace relationships. You might say that Between the Lines is barely about a newspaper at all, more about a bunch of youngish people whose energies are running out, as American counterculture itself had run their course, with the ’80s and its hard-nosed principles about to kick in. It’s only a matter of time before the staffers are hearing they need “a broader-based readership to attract more advertisers”—which is why Silver’s film also feels now like a prescient farewell to the values that had made the new American cinema of the 70s so vital.” Jonathan Romney, Film Comment

Delightful… The story is so of its moment, and not—a rich man might just buy them out—it also functions as the kind of time capsule that good, street-level, low-to-no budget filmmaking accomplishes like no other form.

Ray Pride, New City Film

This deceptively breezy film is really a sneaky generational portrait of young radicals running out of steam in their 30s. Between the Lines has a wistful, end-of-an-era vibe that time has only sweetened.

Sean Burns


Joan Micklin Silver


John Heard, Lindsay Crouse, Jeff Goldblum, Jill Eikenberry, Bruno Kirby, Gwen Welles

Country of Origin






101 min

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Raphael D. Silver


Fred Barron, David M. Helpern Jr.


Kenneth Van Sickle


John Carter

Original Music

Michael Kamen, Steven Van Zandt

Production Design

Stuart Wurtzel

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