Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1990. TriStar Pictures, Baltimore Pictures. Screenplay by Barry Levinson. Cinematography by Allen Daviau. Produced by Mark Johnson, Barry Levinson. Music by Randy Newman. Production Design by Norman Reynolds. Costume Design by Gloria Gresham. Film Editing by Stu Linder. Academy Awards 1990. Golden Globe Awards 1990.
Barry Levinson made his most touching, personal film with this semi-autobiographical drama. Elijah Wood plays a young boy growing up in 1940s New York in a family of Russian Jews; his grandfather (Armin Mueller-Stahl) came to America at the turn of the century in search of a better life, and through his family we see the results of his dreams. Joan Plowright is excellent as Mueller-Stahl’s wife, while Aidan Quinn and Elizabeth Perkins lend able support as Wood’s parents. There’s no central plot to the story, mostly just a collection of both good and bad memories, but Levinson’s screenplay strings them all together wisely and with excellent dialogue that makes all the characters feel real, topped off by one of Randy Newman’s most beautiful music scores.