It is impossible to talk about what Petulia means without talking about how it is structured and composed; form, for once, is truly indistinguishable from content. (p. 67)
Larry Marcus's script and Lester's direction of Petulia constantly play against sentimentality…. The love scenes between Archie and Petulia are all joyless—an abortive tryst at a remote-controlled motel, where registration, room location, even sexual stimulation are done by machine; a jaunt through a tomblike supermarket late at night; an awkward, fumblingly lustful embrace in Archie's car. Even Petulia and Archie's night together is austerely filmed…. Lester has never dealt convincingly with love (he has...
(The entire section is 655 words.)