Skip to Content



U.S., 1985
Directed by Susan Seidelman
Starring Rosanna Arquette, Madonna
Approx. 104 min. 35mm.

“Mired in suburban wedlock, Roberta (Roseanna Arquette) turns to the personal ads for vicarious romance, with unexpected results. Seidelman brings a hip ‘80s SoHo sensibility to this emancipated screwball comedy… Madonna has never found a better fit than the role of Susan, a thrift-store free spirit — and even then Arquette gives as good as she gets with a deliciously kooky comic turn. Followers of independent American cinema should keep an eye out for John Turturro, Richard Edson, John Lurie, Giancarlo Esposito, Anne Carlisle, Victor Argo, Richard Hell and Rockets Redglare, among others.” – Tom Charity, Time Out (London).


“[Seidelman’s] low-budget screwball comedy hit captured the zeitgeist of downtown 80s New York, painting it as an urban wonderland of risk and magical reinvention as seen through the eyes of dissatisfied New Jersey housewife Roberta (Rosanna Arquette).”
– Carmen Gray, AnOther Magazine

“Arquette is consistently charming and inventive in a role that barely exists as written, and Madonna is given ample opportunity to strut her stuff.”
– Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

“Thirty-five years later, DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN holds up as a bizarre paean to a downtown New York that no longer exists”
– Rachel Handler, Vulture

“DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN … is a lark, an exhilarating celebration of people who have the good sense to be in touch with themselves and with each other.”
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Film Forum