Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Barry Levinson|
|Written by||Barry Levinson|
|Music by||Randy Newman|
|Edited by||Stu Linder|
|Box office||$15.7 million|
Avalon is a 1990 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, and Aidan Quinn. It is the third in Levinson's semi-autobiographical tetralogy of "Baltimore films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999). The film explores the themes of Jewish assimilation into American life.
Television is new. Neighborhoods are changing, with more and more families moving to the suburbs. Wallpaper has been Sam's profession, but his son Jules wants to try his hand at opening a large discount-appliance store with his cousin, Izzy, maybe even do their own commercials on TV.
Jules and his wife, Ann, still live with his parents, but Ann is quietly enduring the way that her opinionated mother-in-law Eva dominates the household. Ann is a modern woman who even learns to drive a car, although Eva refuses to ride with her and takes a streetcar instead.
The family contributes to a fund to bring more relatives to America. Slights, real or imagined, concern the family, as when Jules and Ann finally move to the suburbs, a long way for their relatives to travel. After arriving late and finding a Thanksgiving turkey has been carved without him, Uncle Gabriel is offended and storms out, beginning a feud with Sam.
Sam also cannot understand the methods his grandson Michael's teachers use in school, or why Jules and Izzy have changed their surnames to Kaye and Kirk as they launch their business careers. But when various crises develop, including an armed holdup and a devastating fire, the family members generally see them through together.
Levinson likes to place links between his films that are set in Baltimore. There is an image of a diner under construction. A Hudson automobile purchased in Avalon was used in Diner. The house that the Krichinsky family leaves to move to the suburbs was used as a residence in Tin Men.
Avalon received Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Music, Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design (Gloria Gresham). Levinson's script won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture.