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drama, USA, , 97 min.

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On a Friday night in her upper-middle-class home in Brooklyn Heights, Sophie Bentwood barely listens as her husband Otto drones on about the dissolution of his law partnership with his best friend, Charlie Russell. Sophie is distracted by the presence of a stray cat, and feeling responsible for it, she feeds it milk. When she pets the cat, it bites her, to which Otto retorts that the animal is savage. As the couple prepares for a party that night, Sophie objects to Otto's treatment of Charlie, and he snaps at her to "shut up," then quickly apologizes. On their way to the party, they note a man passed out on the sidewalk, and assuming he is drunk, step over him, quarreling, as usual, about their opposing worldviews. Noting that the cat bite has deepened, Otto urges Sophie to have a rabies shot, but she refuses, insisting the cat is not sick. The party is being given by the Bentwood's good friends, Mike and Flo Holstein. Mike, a psychiatrist, tries to call a physician friend for advice about Sophie's bite, but there is no answer. As they leave the bedroom, they notice that a rock has been thrown through Mike's window. In the kitchen, Mike's son and his girl friend taunt Sophie for "her" party, insinuating that it is square and conservative. Bored with the party's banal conversations, Sophie is struck to see Francis Early there. She and Francis had ended a love affair months earlier, and now she admits to him that she is still heartbroken. Otto is watching her conversation carefully, and in the cab on the way home, he complains about their friends. They enter their apartment, where Sophie is frightened by a prank phone call, after which Otto screams at the stray cat to keep away from them. They lie awake in bed, where Otto casually mentions that he considers Francis "a phony." In the middle of the night, Charlie knocks on the door, slightly drunk, and insists on talking with Otto. Upon entering, however, he changes his mind and, telling her not to awaken Otto, asks Sophie to join him for coffee. In the next few hours, the two wander the city and discuss Charlie's break with Otto, Charlie's wife Ruth, who has embraced women's liberation, and Sophie's alcoholic father. Charlie tells Sophie that he feels that Otto has turned against him, labeling him a "bleeding-heart liberal," then states that both men want to go back in time. When he suggests that she visit the hospital for her cat bite, Sophie responds that she is too afraid of pain. The next morning, the man is still collapsed on the street outside the apartment. Otto, insisting the man is merely drunk, turns away and tries to make love to Sophie, who refuses. Over breakfast, she reveals that Charlie visited her the previous night, and Otto, hurt, cuts her off. When Sophie tries to ask why their long friendship has come to this, Otto blames Charlie, stating that he wants a new life. Sophie takes the subway to visit her friend Claire, and like all the other passengers, ignores a man in a business suit conducting a conversation with himself. On the street, she spots Ruth, who blithely says that the men were too codependent, then mutters something that Sophie thinks is "go away." Claire's ex-husband Leon has moved in with her to get over his latest love affair. Watching the two bicker constantly, Sophie is horrified at the arrangement in which they use each other for an uneasy companionship. After rushing out, Sophie calls Francis from a phone booth, but he is in bed with his new lover and does not answer. Over dinner that night, Otto once again holds forth on Charlie, whom he accuses of distracting himself with liberal causes so he can avoid thinking about real subjects. As Otto repeats that he no longer trusts his friend, Sophie realizes that he is talking about her. Just then, a black man comes to the door asking to use the phone. Afterward, he asks for money for the train, and although Otto does not believe his assurance that he will repay them, he gives the man money and ushers him out. Otto then brings Sophie to the hospital emergency room, which is filled with wounded and desperate people. Sophie pleads to leave, but Otto snaps, "Put up with it, everyone else does." The doctors tell her she must have either a rabies shot, or find the cat and have it checked out. Sophie scoffs at Otto's certainty that they can catch the cat, but later that night, the cat returns and Otto grabs it. Sophie, unable to help trap it, allows it to get away, but Otto recaptures it and brings it to the authorities. Returning home later, he tells her that they will call on Monday to report on the cat's health. To soothe Sophie's guilt that the cat will be put down, he makes a plan for them to go to their country house on Sunday. In the car on the next day, Sophie is disgusted and saddened by the state of the city and Otto frets about Charlie, but both find their spirits lifted by the sight of the country. When they enter the house, however, they find it ransacked. In response to the destruction, Otto tries to make love to Sophie, who first pushes him away, then consents, crying. During the drive back home, Otto suggests that they try once more to adopt a child, after which Sophie asks him to stay home with her the next day to receive the news about the cat. Exasperated, Otto asks if she wants to be rabid, and she replies, "If I was I'd be equal to what's outside." When they finally reach their apartment, Sophie lags outside and wonders aloud if the vandals have attacked the apartment, and leading her inside, Otto responds, "Not yet."
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