Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1988. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, Frank Galati, based on the book by Anne Tyler. Cinematography by John Bailey. Produced by Michael Grillo, Lawrence Kasdan, Charles Okun. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Bo Welch. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by Carol Littleton. Academy Awards 1988. Golden Globe Awards 1988. New York Film Critics Awards 1988.
Lawrence Kasdan’s masterpiece is this beautifully subtle relationship drama. William Hurt and Kathleen Turner play an estranged couple whose marriage doesn’t seem to be surviving the death of their only son. Deciding that splitting up is the best solution, they agree on a trial separation and Hurt, a writer of handy travel books, goes to live with his incredibly oddball family. Even stranger than his relatives is the woman he meets when he signs his pesky dog up for training, a trainer with a curious fashion sense (Geena Davis) who captures Hurt’s attention and brings him back to life for the first time in years. When Turner returns, insisting that their marriage can make it through after all, Hurt is forced to choose between two women who are both significant to him. The performances all sparkle, especially a marvelous Davis who brings out her character’s warmth beneath all the weird clothing and nervous mannerisms. This beauty is one of the highlights of the late eighties and a fine example of just how cinematic novelist Anne Tyler’s characters always seem to be (also check out the fine television film Earthly Possessions starring Susan Sarandon for another good example).