A Very Truly Tragic Romance (1990)

Directed by
Joel Schumacher

Writing credits
Lisa Schumacher (poem)
Joel Schumacher (screenplay)

Genre: Drama / Romance / Sobsploitation / Infantlike Handsome Men (more)

Tagline: He's dying of cancer, but she will make him want to live of cancer!

Plot Summary: Jennifer Skylar is hired as a caretaker for a wealthy man dying from cancer, but when she realizes he can't get up and can never betray her she falls madly in love with him in a vague, non-threatening romance that barely involves physical love and then only in a really non-icky way so you don't have to (more) (view trailer)

Plot Keywords: Woman with a Puppet / Hair on a Puppet / Comb a Puppet / Puppet Brushing (more)


User Rating: A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? NO STAR!!!! NO STAR!!!! NO STAR!!!! NO STAR!!!! 5.5 / 10 (2,733 votes)

Cast overview, first billed only:

Geena Davis ... Jennifer Skylar
Bill Pullman ... Walter Puffin
Shelly Long ... Mona Armstrong-Puffin
Omar Sharif ... Dr. Baht Nuesef
Jeff Fahey ... Hunk Beauregard

Also Known As:

Fannyshite (UK)
Cancer Day! (Jpn)
Die Sobbenwerken (Ger)
Film Saffron 16 (Xej)

Runtime: 126 mins / Interminable (men only)
Country: USA
Language: Tugged Heartstrings
Color: Gauzy
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1:100
Sound Mix: DJ Desmond "Dee" Jay of DJ & DJ's DJs
MOVIEmeter: 5 Billion since the diagnosis scene why?
Certification: UK: Queen's List / Japan: Panty Vend Only / Geena Davis: In it / Mileena Davis: Zippers up the front / Hallmark Channel: 24/7 / USA: D / Xerenej: Auburn Coda, Melt


  • Crew or Equipment Visible: The Jingle Dogs handler is visible on the right side of the screen holding a treat up for Jeff Fahey during the bar scene.
  • Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Dr. Baht Nuesef looks into Walter's ear and diagnosis him with "skeleton cancer".
  • Incorrectly Regarded As Goofs: Many believe the sunset in the final scene is a picture of a sunset being held by a gaffer based on the shadow of a person covering most of the sun. It is possible the shadow is being cast by a planetary body and a second sun on the day of shooting. And also that the first sun, the original sun, stopped being made of light and is made of like a red goo.
  • Crew or Equipment Visible: The Jingle Dogs can be heard starting and stopping "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" several times during the death scene.


  • Joel Schumacher originally envisioned the movie as a musical adaptation of the Jingle Dogs barking Christmas albums, then as a gay porno, then as a woman-targeted tear jerker, and finally back to being a gay porno. Early in the shoot when the Jingle Dogs became available the transition was made to the tear jerker script and shooting schedule.
  • Cameo: Ricardo Montalban appears, uncredited, as skeleton cancer.
  • Director trademark: Jeff Fahey eating a rope like cooked spaghetti.
  • Geena Davis insisted on learning American Sign Language for her part and "spoke" her lines with her hands out of frame entirely for the benefit of deaf members of the sound crew.
  • Director trademark: People looking at a setting sun sadly and the sun means the day is ending and also a person's life is ending (one of the people looking at the sun).

AMDB Memorable Quotes:

Jennifer Skylar: Forget you, Hunk! I've had enough of your cheating!
(Throws some shit)
Hunk Beauregard: Come on baby, it's not how it looks. She was just helping me try on a new condom...for us...
Jennifer Skylar: There is no "us" anymore, Hunk! It's over! I'm going to go get a job babysitting some cancer homebody and there's nothing you can do to stop me!!!!

Jennifer Skylar: I'm your new nurse I'm here to help you with your cancer.
(She takes his pulse)
Walter Puffmin: Oh crap this cancer hurts a ton!
Jennifer Skylar: I know what will help you feel better...
(two gay dudes start screwing while the Jingle Dogs bark out "Silent Night")

Walter Puffin: I'm dying Jenny....
Jennifer Skylar: No you're not...you're just starting to live...
Walter Puffin: You're right...I'm living...you're making me live...I'm living through love...
(Dying sounds)

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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