Dustin Hoffman is Michael Dorsey, an out of work actor whose fierce dedication to his craft has made him largely unemployable. To prove that the truly great actors become their characters, he creates a female persona for himself, lands a role on a soap opera and takes the nation by storm. Then, he finds out that living life as an entirely different person isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
Life as a woman offers many of the expected problems for Dorsey, from dealing with a chauvinistic director to falling in love with his co-star (who, of course, thinks he’s a woman). There are also some special problems along the way, such as his love interest’s father falling in love with him. All are handled with just the right amount of comedy so that they don’t go too far over the top, keeping the awkwardness of it all very believable. Hoffman is great as Dorsey, although others (Robin Williams, in “Mrs. Doubtfire” comes to mind) have been more convincing as women. The supporting characters, are the glue in this film, more so than many. Bill Murray, Dabney Coleman, Terri Garr and Charles Durning are all great. Jessica Lange’s character flounders at times, but works overall as Hoffman’s unknowing love interest.
Definitely an 80s film, this is both tender and fun, making its points without becoming bogged down by them.