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The Independent Critic

 Book Review: Desperately Seeking Something by Susan Seidelman 
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Is Susan Seidelman a household name?

Probably not. She should be.

Starting out in the 70s, Seidelman was determined to become a filmmaker at a time when the industry was still dominated by men. When her student film was nominated for a Student Academy Award, it became readily apparent that Seidelman was immensely talented. She followed that up with "Smithereens," a 1982 film that was the first American indie to compete at Cannes. She would solidify her place in Hollywood history three years later with "Desperately Seeking Susan," a Rosanna Arquette/Madonna starring film that became a smash hit and paved the way for Seidelman's 40-year filmmaking career.

"Desperately Seeking Something: A Memoir About Movies, Mothers, and Material Girls" is quintessential Seidelman - hilarious, brash, brutally honest, insightful, and surprisingly playful. "Desperately Seeking Something" isn't simply a rehashing of Seidelman's films - it's a journey through Seidelman's life from childhood "through the Women’s Lib movement of the early 70s, the punk scene of the late 70s, Madonna-mania of the 80s, to the dot-com “greed is good” 90s, and beyond."

Seidelman is fiercely honest, unafraid to call out the bad experiences and rave about the good ones. Unsurprisingly, her biggest successes get the most print but she also shares the challenging times with films that didn't quite hit like "Cookie," "Making Mr. Right," and "She-Devil," the latter featuring the glorious teaming of Meryl Streep and Roseanne.

Seidelman is also a glorious storyteller, enlightening us with everything from Hollywood insights to her long-time relationship with Jonathan Brett to motherhood to 9/11.

Fun facts about Seidelman that you may not realize:

She shared an Oscar nomination with Brett for the live-action short film "The Dutch Master."

In 2013, she directed "Musical Chairs," a film featuring a cast of non-disabled and disabled actors.

Seidelman directed the very first episode of "Sex and the City."

There's so much more. An engaging and entertaining memoir that goes outside the usual biography/memoir box, "Desperately Seeking Something" is a must-read for fans of movie history and for those who want to celebrate the growing presence of female filmmakers and the early pioneers who paved the way.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic