A New Leaf

Director: Elaine May

When financially irresponsible bachelor, Walter Matthau suddenly discovers he’s penniless and too narcissistic for suicide, he decides the only answer to his problems is to marry a wealthy woman and then plan her death after he gains control of her fortune on their wedding day. Former comedy partner to Mike Nichols, writer-director-star Elaine May made her mark with this clever anti-romantic comedy back in 1971. May has great chemistry with Matthau as the helplessly frumpy botany professor he decides to wed, although she’s more than content to sit back and let Matthau steal every scene with his devilish delivery of her cleverly written dialogue. It’s ingenious in that it can be aptly referred to as a romantic comedy but May sucks all of the romance out of the film with her trademark style—- close claustrophobic angles and uncomfortable scenes that make the film a refreshing spin on an old genre.