The Reel Review


A bored New Jersey housewife finds herself caught up in a crime caper after she bumps her head and gets amnesia while following a charismatic, free-spirited bohemian that she’s become obsessed with through the newspaper personal ads. Rosanna Arquette, Madonna and Aiden Quinn star in this 1985 screwball romantic comedy/thriller.

Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn in Desperately Seeking Susan

From its fashions, quirky humor and admittedly cheesy but winsome storytelling, Desperately Seeking Susan is THE archetypal film snapshot of the 1980s. Double reverses abound in this convoluted story of mistaken identity featuring a boatload of unforgettable characters – Aiden Quinn as the food delivery man who falls for Arquette’s character despite believing she is his best friend’s girlfriend Susan, Will Patton as the killer, Laurie Metcalf as the busybody sister-in-law and of course, Madonna, as Susan. The film also features appearances by a number of underground New York City characters such as Anne Carlisle, Richard Hell and Rockets Redglare.

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Director Susan Seidelman manages to give us a fun, lighthearted film that captures the zany street life that used to exist in the city that never sleeps. Desperately Seeking Susan is fun time capsule of a bygone era.


• Initially the studio wanted Ellen Barkin for the role of Susan, but Madonna won out over 200 other actresses, including Melanie Griffith and Kelly McGillis, when director Susan Seidelman insisted that she WAS Susan.

• Madonna’s part was expanded and the song “Into the Groove” was added during filming, when her Like a Virgin album dropped, making her an overnight superstar.

• Rosanna Arquette won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress for the film.


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