Character: Susan Elliott
Directed by: Diane Kurys
Written by: Diane Kurys, Israel Horovitz, Olivier Schatzky
Produced by: Diane Kurys
Cast Members: Peter Coyote, Greta Scacchi
Released date: May 7, 1987 (Cannes Film Festival)
Genre: Drama, Romance
While filming a biopic of Italian author Cesare Pavese in Rome, American actor Steve Elliott (Peter Coyote) falls for his British co-star, Jane Steiner (Greta Scacchi). After Steve refuses an interview with Jane's journalist father, the two actors begin a steamy affair mirroring the relationship of their characters in the film. But when Steve's wife, Susan (Jamie Lee Curtis), discovers her husband's lies, the affair damages not only Steve's family but Jane's.
Jane Steiner (Greta Scacchi) is an English-born actress considering giving up on her unfulfilling career as an actress to become a writer. She lives in France with her French mother Julia and English father Harry. By chance, during an excursion to Rome with her journalist father, she is offered a small part in an American film set in the 1950s about Cesare Pavese as Gabriella, Pavese’s love interest. The lead role is played by Steve Elliot (Peter Coyote), a charming American who is passionate about the writer he is playing, although his work is unknown in the United States. He is married to Susan (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is at home in New York City but falls in love with his co-star Jane on the set. After meeting Steve, Jane abandons her relationship with her French lover and friend Bruno (Vincent Lindon).
After Jane’s part in the movie is finished, she moves into Steve’s rented villa on the outskirts of Rome while he continues to work on the film at the studio. The two of them soon become lovers and embark on a torrid affair, which is almost discovered when Susan shows up one day in Rome to see Steve on a surprise visit with their children; however, Steve’s best friend Michael Pozner (Peter Riegert) manages to sneak Jane out of the house before she is discovered. Complications for Jane continue when Bruno tracks her down to Rome and eventually discovers the affair. In a jealous rage, he leaks the affair to the press just as Steve completes his work on the film. To makes things worse, Jane learns that her mother has terminal cancer and will die soon unless she returns to France quickly.
As the film comes to a close, Jane and Steve quietly end their romance since Steve has told Jane that he is unable to leave Susan or his family. Steve returns to America and Jane returns to France to be at her mother’s side when she dies. After mourning the loss of her mother, Jane decides to embrace her future as a writer and in the final scene, she is writing her first book; it is a romance story loosely based on her relationship with Steve.
• The most romantic film of the year!
→ Opening film at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
→ A Man in Love was writer/director Diane Kurys’s first English–language film.
→ A joint French/Italian production, its translated titles, respectively, are Un homme amoureux and Un uomo innamorato.