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Film / An Unmarried Woman

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A 1978 comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Mazursky and starring Jill Clayburgh.

Erica Benton (Clayburgh) is an affluent Manhattan housewife who thinks she's Happily Married – right up until her husband Martin (Michael Murphy) confesses to having an affair with a younger woman. After she becomes an unmarried woman, Erica goes on a Slice of Life journey to find herself. Eventually, she finds love with a sensitive artist named Saul (Alan Bates).


  • All Women Are Prudes: Averted. Erica talks to her therapist about missing sex.
  • Alone Among the Couples: Not shown, but Erica describes this to her therapist.
  • Amicable Exes: Kind of. Martin continues to support Erica financially and would like for them to remain friends. Erica accepts the money, but does not want to be friends with him anymore. She later decides to go back to school so she'll be able to support herself.
  • Big Applesauce: During The Big Rotten Apple era.
  • The Casanova: Charlie
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: It's the '70s free love era, after all.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Erica and her circle of friends.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Only on Martin's part. Before she found out about the affair, Erica genuinely thought everything was great.
  • The Mistress: Martin's is a younger woman he met at Bloomingdale's. She never appears onscreen.
  • Name One: After Patti says she never wants to get married, she challenges Erica to name three happily married couples. Erica thinks and then says she'll get back to her.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Erica tells her therapist about the first time she got her period. Later, one of Erica's friends gets emotional and someone asks her if she's getting her period.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Erica, though the movie considers her normal. It's the '70s.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Patti is rude to Saul when they first meet, but later apologizes and admits she was just upset about her father being replaced.
  • The '70s: For better or worse, the only decade in which this film could have been made in quite this way.
  • Sex Is Good: It's the '70s, okay?
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Definitely on the gritty end of the scale.