AFI Movie Club: TOOTSIE – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: TOOTSIE

TOOTSIE appears on three of AFI’s lists of the greatest American films – most notably ranked #2 on AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 LAUGHS list, which chronicles the funniest films ever to grace the silver screen.  

 

Watch J.J. Abrams Announce the Film:

 

Movie Trivia about TOOTSIE

DID YOU KNOW it took star Dustin Hoffman 90 minutes to get dressed and two-and-a-half hours in makeup to get into the character of Dorothy? 

DID YOU KNOW that Dustin Hoffman was referred to a speech consultant from UCLA to perfect the higher pitches of his character’s voice? 

DID YOU KNOW that Sydney Pollack not only plays Dustin Hoffman’s agent in the movie, but is also the director of the film? Pollack also directed the Academy Award®-winning film OUT OF AFRICA – which appears across a number of AFI’s lists of the greatest American films! 

DID YOU KNOW that Elaine May was an uncredited writer on the film? She created the character of Jeff (Bill Murray) and wrote much of the dialogue for Sandy Lester (Teri Garr).  

DID YOU KNOW that the reason Bill Murray’s name does not appear in the opening credits is because the filmmakers wanted to prevent audiences from expecting a comedy like CADDYSHACK or MEATBALLS? 

DID YOU KNOW that TOOTSIE was Geena Davis’ acting debut? 

-DID YOU KNOW that Jessica Lange won the first of her two Academy Awards® for playing the role of Julie in TOOTSIE? She later won her second Oscar® for Tony Richardson’s BLUE SKY in 1994. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions 

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below. 

-What does Michael Dorsey learn by the end of the film by walking, quite literally, in a woman’s shoes as Dorothy?  

-What do you think about the soap opera setting to explore the theme of gender performance in TOOTSIE?   

-How does Michael take advantage of the “female friendships” in his life by misusing what they tell him in confidence as Dorothy?  

-How are the tables turned when Julie’s widowed father hits on Michael? What does he learn through this experience?  

-How does the film set up a contrast between Julie and Sandy as women?  

-What do you think of Sydney Pollack’s role as Michael’s agent? And what is your favorite Pollack film?  

-How do you think Elaine May contributed to the film as a ghostwriter?  

-With cultural conversations today about gender identity and fluidity, is the film more progressive or reactionary in its mindset about gender roles?   

-Why do you think TOOTSIE is still so beloved after almost 40 years?   

-How would you rate TOOTSIE? 

 

Watch this exclusive AFI Archive clip of Dustin Hoffman talking about filming TOOTSIE:

 

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

In this time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home,” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

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