Biography

American director Joan Micklin Silver was educated at Sarah Lawrence College, then moved to New York for a job directing schoolroom films for the Learning Corporation of America and the Encyclopedia Brittanica. In 1972, she attained her first important screenplay credit with one of the earliest films to deal with Vietnam veterans, Limbo. While doing research for an educational short about immigrants, Silver read a story about a young Jewish newlywed titled "Yekl;" this would develop into her first feature film, Hester Street (1975), which, though minimally budgeted, became a favorite with audiences weaned on the mega-bucks Jaws. A year later, Silver scored with a half-hour Public Television adaptation of Fitzgerald's Bernice Bobs Her Hair, which, like Hester Street, was a breathtakingly accurate recreation of a bygone chapter of American history -- and again, one created on a shoestring budget. Silver's experiences writing for The Village Voice would be manifested in her first feature film, Between the Lines (1977), the saga of an "alternative" newspaper with a remarkable young cast of stars-to-be, including John Heard, Jeff Goldblum, Jill Eikenberry, Bruno Kirby, Lane Smith, and Marilu Henner. Silvers' most distinctive skill was the ability to weave scriptwriting contrivances into a semi-documentary style; she did this admirably with the larger-budget film Crossing Delancey (1988), an update of the "arranged marriage" conceit of Hester Street. In recent years, Silver has switched to a lighter style with Loverboy (1989), a low-key comedy about a pizza delivery boy's many amours with lonely older women, and Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even (1992), which took a "laughing through the tears" approach to the subject of teenagers from broken homes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi