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Hard-Hitting Drama
G-Man-2525 September 2000
Nobody seems to like this drama, probably because it IS at times very depressing and downbeat...and the ending DOES tie things up a little too neatly after going over the top melodramatically. But the movie is worth seeing for several reasons. It's extremely well-acted by all (especially Christopher Collet and a rare dramatic turn from Teri Garr)and the early parts of the story ring powerfully true about the loneliness, confusion and hurt that comes with being a family torn apart by divorce. The scenes involving the kids and their friends and their dealings at school also feel fresh and very real.

Solidly directed by Michael Apted, "Firstborn" is an affecting 1980's drama that, despite its flaws, will stay with you long after you see it.
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Child's psychology.
Pepper Anne9 April 2004
First Born is good psychological exploration in the various signs of breakdown of kids dealing with tough family situations. Here, Christopher Collet (Prayer of the Rollerboys) is Jake Livingston, a fifteen year old kid who lives with his mom (Terri Garr) and younger brother, Brian (Corey Haim). And, things are fine for a while for Jake, despite his dad going to Montreal to marry his girlfriend, leaving Jake a tad sympathetic of his still single mother. But things quickly fall apart when his mom's new boyfriend, Sam (Peter Weller), enters the picture, and eventually moves in. While his mom has dated in the past, there is something about Sam that neither Jake nor Brian can tolerate. They can't figure out what their mother sees in this guy.

Sam is kind of a flake. He never gives too much information about his past. The longer that Sam stays, the worse things become. He starts getting violent towards the boy, he starts bringing drugs into the house, and Jake's mother eventually starts falling into the same dangerous patterns as Sam while neglecting her own boys who plead with her to realize what Sam is really all about. For the first born, Jake, this is not something he can ignore, and has the responsibility of finding a way to protect himself, his brother, and most of all, his mother.

This movie presents the kind of psychological breakdown kids may go through when faced with serious family issues. Before Sam arrived, Jake was a funny, easy going kid. He was a good student and spent a lot of time with his friends (one of whom was played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker). Afterwards, both his and Brian's attitudes change for the worse. Jake becomes considerably thinner, irritable, and starts slacking academically. Likewise, Brian starts getting into a lot of fights in the schoolyard, beating up the kids he know he can win fights against. Plus, he hates coming home, and when he does, he spend much of the time locked in his room. It is a good film, too, to teach of the warning signs to parents, teachers, counselors, and so forth (Jake's dad couldn't be suspicious of anything was going on because he wasn't there to witness the changes in his sons).

I wish Christopher Collet had been in more movies. He appears again with Haim about six years later or so in the sci-fi movie, Prayer of the Rollerboys.
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A Very Well-Done Film
bethster20008 August 2001
This has always been one of my favorite films. It is very well acted, with great performances from Peter Weller, Terri Garr, and especially Christopher Collet (I would have expected to see more acting credits for him). I really like its unflinching look at the consequences of divorce, from the sadness of the kids to the vulnerability of the mother. Look for a young Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Downey Jr., and Corey Haim in supporting roles.
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Outstanding Underrated Domestic Drama
drpakmanrains4 April 2010
Firstborn has been one of my favorite films since its release. It has a terrific script and fine performances by all the actors. I have worked with children as an educational therapist and have known many students who had step-parents that were abusive. Even a second cousin of mine has brought boyfriends into her home to live who would make Peter Weller's character look saintly by comparison. Teri Garr, like many deserted or divorced mothers, becomes flattered by the attention she is getting from Peter Weller, and their obvious sexual bonding makes it easy for her to overlook the potential harm to her children that moving him in might cause. While many critics didn't like that the film adds drug use about midway through, this too is more common than many think. This was Corey Haim's first film, and his reaction early on when learning that his dad is getting remarried, shows what a fine actor he was. I am so glad I have the VHS tape and have put a cable copy on a home DVD. If you like serious family drama, do yourself a favor and try to find a VHS tape to rent or buy. It is a heart wrenching but ultimately satisfying movie, and you get to watch early performances by Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Junior. The director, Michael Apted, should be very proud. It richly deserves a DVD release. (Update 2012: Firstborn has finally been made available on DVD).
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Paints a good picture of how stress can affect young lives
Moesjr30 June 2005
Wendy(Garr) is a single mom raising two boys, Jake(Collett) and Brian(Haim). After seeing that her ex-husband has moved on in his life she gets in a relationship with Sam(Weller).

At first Sam seems to be a nice guy, but that soon changes. He keeps coming up with different ways to make money but never follows through. He moves in with the family way too soon and even starts helping himself to the boys belongings. He invites shady looking friends to the house late at night to have Coke parties and starts to become verbally abusive to all and physically abusive to Wendy. She keeps telling the boys that Sam is trying and to be patient but the stress of this affects the boys as well.

Jake is a great student, athletic and fun-loving. As the stress keeps welling up in him it causes problems in his relationship with his girlfriend Lisa(Jessica-Parker). He becomes verbally abusive to his friends and more aggressive on the Lacrosse field. Up to this point he has been tolerant of his self absorbed, egomaniac teacher but even starts to become defiant with him as well.

Brian avoids home as much as he can and keeps getting into bad fights in school.

When Jake discovers that Sam is trafficking drugs through the house he has finally had enough and takes it upon himself to make a stand.

This movie is a great example of how a bad relationship can cause stress on more than two lives. Stress becomes a trickle down effect and can be very damaging especially to young lives.
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Both the book and the movie were very good.
triple814 November 2003
This is another movie about the ramifications of addictions and though it's not "Leaving Las Vegeas" the movie is still welldone and draws you in(it was a book to). It also offers a fresh perspective surprisingly rare for movies of this type-addiction as seen through the eyes-not of the lover or parent-but of the child. In THIS story it's the mother in the family who is problematic-especially when the mother's new boyfriend enters the picture and starts a destructive chain of events.

As in most stories of this genre don't expect sweetness and light. It's a good story to see though and one many may relate too. The book is equally as welldone.
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Very Insightful and Realistic
navyblueblood9 January 2007
This is not, nor was it intended to be, a happy movie.

Wendy, (a great performance by Teri Garr), is a very lonely and extremely vulnerable divorced Mother of two boys. She is wooed and won by Sam, (Peter Weller), a great guy and perfect husband/father replacement. Wendy's oldest son, Jake, discovers a secret which Wendy chooses to downplay rather than jeopardize her relationship with Sam.

What should Jake do?

Not all life situations are happy situations. The script is a strong and realistic rendering of a very believable situation. For a happy movie, I recommend "Mary Poppins".
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ugly, abusive, depressing film
Popeye-816 April 1999
I went to this movie on a date in college---whooo.

The moral of this movie? "No one will be happy until dragged to Hell and back."

If you want to be depressed or get into abusive relationships w/o understanding them, enjoy. Otherwise, avoid like the plague.
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80's dramatic gold
agent-too14 May 2007
If you're an 80's film buff, you couldn't ask for anything better than Firstborn. Peter Weller being creepier than creepy, Cory Haim being earnest, Sarah Jessica Parker being mousy, and Teri Garr addicted to coke. Does it get any better? I found the film looking for more Christopher Collet flicks (he's the dreamy 13-year-old Paul of Sleepaway Camp), and he knocks this role out of the park as an engaging and increasingly troubled teen trying to keep his family together. Though the subject matter is a little heavy, Apted keeps you riveted, and Firstborn proves itself to be a heartfelt and endearing look at a family ripped apart. Not only is this Corey Haim's first film, but the entire cast is outstanding. Do yourself a favor and see it.
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Weak Stereotypes
parkerr863029 May 2008
Probably the most maligned character in the history of fiction-writing is the step-parent or prospective step-parent. From fairy tales of old to major motion pictures, step-parents are almost always depicted as uncaring, violence-prone, inheritance-stealing interlopers. With this constantly shoved down our throats, is it any wonder that real life step-parents have such a hard time of it? There are many films that I could have made that comment about, but I chose FIRST BORN because it takes its offensive premise even further! In this one, mom (Teri Garr) is depicted as a weak-willed imbecile, so desperate for a man she will even start taking drugs for one. The film also once again gives us the old stereotype that parents and children of the opposite sex cannot, or should not, have intelligent discussions about important "adult" things. The dialogue between Teri Garr and her son is beyond banal.

FIRST BORN is an ugly, unpleasant misfire. Virtually the exact same plot was handled much better in LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH (1960).
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Family Scars
hellraiser73 February 2015
Abuse is always one of the issues that emotionally cut me, it doesn't matter what age you are it's always the worst experience for anyone to have not so much on the threat of being hit but how much it truly destroys the life of the victim.

This is one of my favorite dramas and films of all time. It's true it's not exactly the most uplifting but at the same time it sort of is in a way because the protagonist does what any person in that situation should do fight back. I feel it deals with the issue of abuse well by not being heavy handed or preachy.

The score I think is great it has one of my favorite themes of all time. I really like the characters from some supporting characters like Sarah Jessica Parker as Lisa whom at the time I thought was cute and kinda hot is Jake's significant other. I like the chemistry between them it felt like any other young teen romance. Even best friend Lee played well by Robert Downey Jr. whom is a fun character he's kinda a loose fun sort of guy from his wardrobe reminds me a bit of Ducky's from "Pritty in Pink". Though these two I don't feel have enough scenes with Jake which to me is the only weak point of the film, I kinda would of liked to see both of them have a hand in Jake's dilemma and help him though it somehow.

Even young Corry Haim whom is one of my favorite young actors in the 80's and is sadly no longer with us is great. Playing a young brother that isn't a stereotypical annoyance but feel like a actual brother. I like the chemistry between both Jake and him which I feel really carries out the film. You feel pathos for both of them for what they are forced to go though and how it's affecting their lives. It also made me worry for both their lives as things escalate.

Though of course my favorite character is Jake played by Christopher Collet whom I think is an underrated actor. It's a real shame he didn't become one of the big stars in the 80's this actor I felt had a lot of potential. Anyway his character is great, he plays sports but he's not a jock which I like, let alone he plays Lacrose which was something one of my cousins did. I like that he has charisma, humor, and he's also one of my favorite fictional heroes because he doesn't bend or take crap from anyone, and he knows when enough is enough to take action.

One of the highlight no doubt is that scene with the English teacher whom is just a complete blowhole gives Jake a failing grade on purpose despite Jake actually worked hard and put effort into it. That's like some blowhole assistant manager complain about tables that are perfectly clean despite being the one that cleaned it up well, it makes no damn sense. Sometimes the problem with authoritative positions are they just breed blowholes and that's not right, just because you have power doesn't give you the right to abuse it, it's not a toy. That pushes Jake over the edge and he then does what I feel any person in that situation should do stand up for himself, I couldn't help but cheer.

It's really surreal seeing one of my favorite actors Peter Weler play a villain; but then a lot of other actors I know and like had there start doing that. Here he plays a villain you just plain hate and that's the point because scumbags like Sam actually exist.

Sam is just horrible, throughout most of the film I just wanted to beat the living crap out of him. The guy is pretty much a loser, he's a drug dealer as well as drugy, flaky, full of bull crap but worst of all completely abusive and acts like he own everyone and everything.

From little moments like when Sam then says some bull crap about playing Jake's records without permission from Jake. That's like someone taking some of my video games or DVD/Blu Rays and playing them without asking me, that tees me off because not asking anyone's permission to use personal property is practically steeling.

Or one really big moment when Sam comes close to crossing the line about to hit Jake and Brian I thought "cmon Sam, lets go right now!" Sorry that sounded bold but that scene made my blood boil to raging hot.

We see how things get worse with Sam's presence even to the point of scary. The house we see gets messier, well may'be not to the point of being a crap hole but you know that it will get there if he's still around.

Wendy is a character I don't hate but more like disappointed with as are the kids because you feel she should know better but due to her desperation she's ignoring all common sense and completely irresponsible, which is common with most in that state.

One scene that made me want to yell at her was when Jake lied to his real father for his mom over the phone that everything was fine and after that call it looked like Jake was about to cry. It was heart sinking and almost put a tear in my eye and made me really mad at Wendy I thought "Can't you see what is happening to your family!" Part of the suspense is hoping she's get her common sense back while she still has a family.

The film I do feel has a good message about always standing up to abusers, don't let them control your lives they own nobody.

Sometimes the young are a lot more grown up than you think.

Rating: 4 stars
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Powerful, Hard-Hitting, Dysfunctional, Family Drama
jbartelone24 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
FIRSTBORN tells the emotionally powerful but sad story of a divorced Mother (Terri Garr) who feels lonely and despondent. She begins an all-too quick relationship with an abusive man. (Peter Weller,) much to the chagrin of her two sons. Jake (Christopher Collet) and Brian. (Corey Haim.) Predictably, the family begins to fall apart. Brian begins to have fights in school, Jake once outgoing, charismatic, and fun, becomes short-tempered to his friends and teachers, and Mother Wendy who initially along with the family believed that Sam was in contract security systems, discoverers something far more horrifying. Sam is a drug-dealer and he has Jake and Brian's mother addicted to cocaine. It is now up to the older son Jake, to protect Brian, his mother, and himself, from Sam's growing abuse towards them, and to get Sam out of the house before Sam does irreversible damage to the already shattered family.

The scenes for the most part are realistic and the film does a good job of conveying a dark image of the decent into abusive family trauma. The actors do a wonderful job in their roles. The only minor downfall is that the film is a little too predictable and their isn't much originality to it. The fight scene at the end seems to go on a little too long and appears to be forced. However, Firstborn does have some strong undertone messages. Just don't expect to feel very happy when you are watching this movie or after it ends. However, other than the "too long" fight scene, the film is well done and one that I would recommend.
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"'Hip' isn't hip anymore..." (it's not?)
moonspinner5529 March 2008
Trouble at home has caused high schooler Christopher Collet to become embittered. The teenager has been rebelling at school and battling with his mother, who is dating a creepy new guy, but instead of seeking advice or aid from adults who may just be a bit more knowledgeable than he, Collet takes matters into his own hands. Pricelessly overripe piece of juvenalia--designed to get kids in the audience cheering--backfires when it becomes apparent that this young rebel has nothing in mind but time-worn solutions. Suburban melodrama wastes some fine actors, including Teri Garr, Peter Weller and Sarah Jessica Parker on tepid material. Clueless screenwriter Ron Koslow eventually shows his hand (and true intentions) once the scenario is turned into a lowbrow psycho-thriller. Definitely not hip. * from ****
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Coke Hos in Suburbia on the next Geraldo
queenb8020 September 2005
I didn't give this movie a high score because watching it makes me want to kill myself. It's the story of Jake, a young man who's mom starts dating a stranger who introduces his mom to cocaine and things start to go awry...The shocking thing is his mom is played by (GASP) Terri Garr. Sweet, kind Terri Garr starts dealing cocaine out of their home and doesn't have the good sense to kick this loser out when he starts beating her kids. Her other son (Corey Haim) is getting into fights at school which is kinda hard to believe since he's like 3'9. The drug dealer boyfriend is portrayed by Peter (yes, Robocop himself) Weller and he doesn't change facial expressions, once. It's a sad movie that you should watch only if you follow it up with Anchorman so you don't commit suicide. Enjoy.
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Good movie
nightcat136 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Jakes mother and father have divorced and now with his father gone he is man of the house until Sam shows up and starts dating his mother Wendy.At first he seems to be OK but quickly Jake and his brother Brian see Sam is not the person he made himself out to be.Sam moves in and starts to act like A jerk.Wendy however is totally out of it and desperate for A relationship so she goes along thinking he's the perfect guy for her.Jake and Brian are not fooled even after Sam buys Jake A motorcycle.Sam starts being abusive towards Wendy and starts selling drugs.Jake is determined to get this man out of the house and will stop and nothing to do so.

I liked it A lot I thought the acting was really good. I'm not sure if my review was A spoiler or not but I put the spoiler thing just in case.
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Very Effective
SteveZ10@aol.com25 August 2003
Movie has a lot of current stars that were young at the time the movie was filmed. The movie has a lot of effective elements to get point across. Terri Garr plays a divorced wife who has to deal with new lover played by Peter Weller. Movie deals with drug content the troubles with growing up in a broken family. A Very sad movie, but very well made!
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"Pretty Good 80's Drama!"
gwnightscream20 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Christopher Collet, Corey Haim, Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. star in this 1984 drama. Garr (Mr. Mom) plays Wendy, a divorcée who has 2 children, Jake (Collet) and Brian (Haim). Weller (Robocop) plays Sam, the new man in her life who seems like a decent guy until Jake learns he's an abusive, drug-dealer. Jake intends to look out for his family and stand up to him. Parker (Sex and the City) plays Jake's girlfriend, Lisa and Downey Jr. (Iron Man) plays his friend, Lee. I remember this used to be on TV a lot years ago. It's pretty good, Weller is great in it and the rest of the cast isn't bad. I recommend this.
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good movie!
MBARRY6620 February 2006
i've always liked this movie. i've caught it from time to time on network cable, and i've never seen it all at once, start to finish. it doesn't seem to be out on DVD, which is a shame, considering the other garbage they've converted to DVD.

i would buy it if it became available. good performances, especially from the kids, and a great portrayal of a desperate divorced woman putting her own happiness ahead of her kids.

if it is on DVD, would someone please let me know where i can get it? i've searched the internet sites.

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i'm trying to find out some info about the music from the movie first born.
deedee_squirrel14 December 2005
i just wanna ask a ? does anyone out there know the thats singing on the television, while Jake and his are waiting for their to come and get them for dinner. there is this band on TV they are watching.

the song is a pretty neat song but who is this guy? the song goes, some go up,some go down , it goes and your heart beats in the moonlight like a drum, then back on the flame ,back on the flame .

thats all i remember.

can someone please help me with this.

my email is

please write back , i really,loved this movie

matter of fact i just seen it .

it was still a great teen flick.
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'80s sleeper
george.schmidt13 March 2003
FIRSTBORN (1984) *** Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Christopher Collet, Corey Haim, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Downey, Jr. Absorbing story of a teenager facing his mother's sudden downward spiral thanks to a shifty loser (Weller in a nice turn). Good acting and an original sleeper.
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One depressing movie
Cassie1 February 2000
My father and I saw this movie together years ago, and we couldn't get over how down this movie makes you feel. The message clearly was "don't do drugs," but after it was over I wanted drugs, and lots of them to make the pain stop. Peter Weller I want to always remember as RoboCop, the good guy going after the foul-mouthed drug pushers. Instead he's a drug selling, red-headed stepchild beating loser. Teri Garr's role as a coked-out party mom was old after the first half hour. The best part of the movie was all the cool drugs. I never tried cocaine until after viewing this movie, there might a subliminal message in there somewhere.
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Coxer9913 May 1999
Domestic drama that is played too much like an ABC after school special. Weller overacts immensely as the scoundrel boyfriend of divorcee Teri Garr. Teenager Collet gets the brass you-know-what's to stand up to Weller in one of the silliest fight scenes ever filmed. Look for a young Corey Haim, if there are any fans of his left.
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Coming of Age
sol17 August 2005
(Some Spoilers) There was already trouble brewing at he Livingston home with the husband and father Alan Livingston , Richard Brandon,of the two young boys Jake and Brian, Christopher Collet & Corey Haim,leaving his wife Wendy, Terri Garr, for another woman Joanne, Gayle Harbor. Still you know that something is really hit the fan when the mysterious drifter Sam,Peter Weller, all of a sudden popped up and slowly wormed his way into Wendy's heart and into her home.

The two boys, especially Jake, saw right through Sam's phony front as a former independent contractor now working for this local security firm. In fact Sam was a low echelon coke dealer trying to make it to the big time in the local drug trafficking business.

With Wendy going through a bout of severe depression, by being left by herself, she was more then happy to get someone who she felt was a good husband, or boyfriend, and father to her two boys. Loving towards Wendy and friendly to Jake & Brian at first Sam begins to show his true colors feelings and motives. He tuns the family home into a local drug den where he deals with all these unsavory characters stooping over to buy and sell dope.

As insurance Sam gets Wendy hooked on coke to not only make her more dependent towards him, as her supplier, but also keep her and her boys from reporting him to the police. Sam uses the fear of Wendy's sons knowing that she'll be arrested along with him as a co-conspirator in his drug dealings.

The film "Firstborn" does a good job showing how an American family goes through a crisis period after it's left without it's bread-winner The movie not only reflects on the wife, Wendy, but the two children, Jake & Brian. The ending of the movie was about the only drawback to it by trying to tie everything together and make things Right. Not only for the Livingston family but even for Sam ,who despite being kicked out of the house, doesn't end up dead or even thrown behind bars for his criminal actions.
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