Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1998. Monarch Pictures, Ufland, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Karen Croner, based on the novel by Anna Quindlen. Cinematography by Declan Quinn. Produced by Jesse Beaton, Harry J. Ulfland. Music by Cliff Eidelman. Production Design by Paul Peters. Costume Design by Donna Zakowska. Film Editing by Carole Kravetz Aykanian.
Exceptionally touching story about a workaholic journalist (Renee Zellweger) who goes home to take care of her dying mother (Meryl Streep). While there, after years of dismissing her as a Susie Homemaker, Zellweger realizes that her mother is a self-confident woman who has always lived by her own choices. Director Carl Franklin trusts his audience to be smart enough for these women and so never overplays the more emotional moments of the story: the film actually begins with a wrongful death interrogation, treating you immediately to something much more than just the usual twelve-hanky dying mother weepie. That said, the brutally honest depiction of this young woman’s discovery of a love that was always waiting for her will tear you right apart, and the twelve hankies will certainly come in handy. William Hurt also stars as the self-absorbed university professor patriarch of the family, and Tom Everett Scott is lovably warmhearted as Zellweger’s directionless brother. Streep is downright amazing, even die hard fans of hers will discover new things about her wonderfully subtle acting that she’s never done before, and Zellweger proves that although taking Meryl Streep on as acting partner is no easy task, she can handle it just fine.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Actress (Meryl Streep)
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Drama (Meryl Streep)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Actress (Meryl Streep)