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This film is worth watching for Masterson's performance alone. This drama tells the story of a couple in their late thirties/very early forties who decide to adopt a child after unsuccessful attempts of having their own. The portrayal of the adoption process and its typically attendant series of frustrations appear quite realistic. Unfortunately, another reviewer for IMDb has already given the ending away. However, when Mary Stuart Masterson's character enters the couple's life, it is very touching, and you almost wish the couple would adopt her as well as her baby (I did, anyway). Watching Masterson's character walking around the baby room that the couple decorated is worth watching the entire film, as is the ending. Kevin Dillon delivers a very nice performance, as do, as always, Glenn Close and James Woods. Bring Kleenex.
I happened upon this on television. I remember when it was released in the
theaters, but as a single man, it hadn't exactly been my cup of
Well, it's wonderful. The portrayal of the two couples is so very well written, so believable, so realistic, so interesting. The acting is simply superb - these actors make these people so sympathetic, so real.
How wonderfully written this is. There's nothing formulaic about the way these people speak, the way they smile at each other, the small jokes they make, how they move and interact, the awkwardnesses that arise or dissipate, the unspoken sense of threat. Each character seems quite individual.
I can't single out any one actor - they were all just wonderful. I'm nowhere close to this situation - yet I was very moved. One thing I loved was simply showing how these two couples related to each other - and the different ways they express warmth toward one another.
The only things I disliked were the excessive use of music - (the fact that I'm not a fan of Van Morrison hurt) it felt like padding. I also thought the ending was somewhat pat.
All in all, this is really top notch - it shows what talent can do - even where you've no intrinsic interest in the subject.
"Immediate Family" is a look at the vicissitudes of adoption. Glenn
Close and James Woods play Linda and Michael Spector, a middle-aged
couple who have never been able to have children. They meet with a
younger, economically strapped couple to discuss adopting from them,
but further complications ensue.
I will admit that this isn't the ultimate masterpiece, but it's the sort of movie that people should see before they adopt, just to understand the issues. Equally as good as Close and Woods are Mary Stuart Masterson and Kevin Dillon, as the young couple having the baby but having doubts about giving it up. A pretty interesting movie.
Immediate Family is a heartwarming tale about four people who's lives are interwoven by one thing: a baby. Glenn Close stars as a frazzled woman who desperately wants to have a baby with her husband. When it becomes apparent that it can't happen, the couple looks into adoption. Through this, they meet up with a young, unmarried couple who are expecting their first child and want to give it to a nice family. The whole movie revolves around whether are not the young couple will actually go through with the adoption. Glenn Close is absolutely convincing as the very eager, very frightened "mother-to-be". For anyone who's ever loved a child, this is a must see.
...but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. The performances of each actor were exemplary...and surprising, considering James Woods' ability to play such a sleazy worm so convincingly (as in "The Onion Field" or "Against All Odds") and Glenn Close's horrifying character in "Fatal Attraction"...these are two outstanding actors, whose roles of a warm and long-married-yet-unfulfilled couple really put extra credibility in each of their bag of tricks. Masterson and Dillon are equally excellent as the working-class, clueless kids who are suddenly thrust into parenthood, seeing adoption as their only sensible option out of the situation. What I found most compelling is Michael and Linda (Woods and Close) are a couple who have it all; long-term experience in a loving marriage, excellent careers (he's a veterinarian, she's a real estate broker), a nice house near the bay, nice cars, etc...but are lacking what they really want; a child of their own. Their obvious envy of their friends' relationships with their children is played beautifully, where you can really feel the deep hurt of the "empty womb" through their expressions (the best of which is Michael's observing a young father and his son at a football game) and their discomfort of being among all the happy parents and their children (the birthday party). I found the anticipation of the arrival of Lucy (Masterson) and the ultimate arrival of the baby were very contagious, again, through the excellence of the cast. The glimpses of the younger couple's lives back in Ohio were very revealing as to their characters...again, superbly done! I also loved the understated mischief of the family dog, which, hilariously, closes the film. A warm movie, extremely enjoyable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mary Stuart Masterson, two years before her role in Fried Green
Tomatoes, plays Lucy, a simple teenager who has a child with her young
musician boyfriend. While pregnant she makes arrangements for the baby
to be adopted by a family that can give it a good home. That family is
Linda and Michael Spector, played by Glenn Close and James Woods,
living on the west coast.
As Lucy carries the child she becomes friends with the Spectors, and even visits their home before the baby is born, to the point of admiring the room they have decorated for the newborn. However, after the delivery she has second thoughts, the normal bond between a mother and her child, and simply leaves the hospital, with baby boy, and travels to Ohio and her dad's home. Later when it become clear to her that she and the young father cannot give their son a proper upbringing, she goes back to the Spectors and gives him to them. She leaves a letter to William (the boy) and in a voice-over as the movie is ending, we hear her tell him why she gave him up. The Spectors stay in touch and we see a photo she has of the boy about two years old, with a big shaggy dog.
The movie Immediate Family is one of those rare films that never reach
public in a big way. But, the people that do see it are usually impacted
greatly on the way to handle adoption and pregnancy at an early age. The
cast:Glenn Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Kevin Dillon
just the right mix to produce a movie of this genre. If you like baby
flicks, I suggest you try out this one. Yet another example of 80's
"Glenn Close and James Woods are Michael and Linda Spector, a mature,
successful couple who have everything it takes to be parents
baby. Mary Stuart Masterson and Kevin Dillon are Lucy and Sam, a
teenage couple who have a baby on the way
but aren't ready to be
parents. Director Jonathan Kaplan and screenwriter Barbara Benedek mix
laughter and tears in this funny, uplifting look at two very different
couples who unexpectedly find a common bond and ultimately bring out
the best in each other. Dazzling, funny performances bring a touching
humanity to this slice-of-life comedy with a big heart."
The above synopsis, trimmed of its references to Academy Awards and cast credits, is how it appears on video sleeves from Columbia Pictures. But, "Immediate Family" is not a "slice-of-life comedy" with "funny performances." Perhaps they are referring to a couple of scenes where family dog "Ellen" wrestles with Ms. Close or, maybe it's the abundance of bratty kids on screen. The misbehaving youngsters are there to show viewers Close and Mr. Wood really, REALLY want a child. Both they and the donating couple are so sweet and huggable, you just know they will make wise decisions for little William or Andrew...
****** Immediate Family (10/27/89) Jonathan Kaplan ~ Glenn Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kevin Dillon
This movie was an excellent follow up for actress Glenn Close, after Fatal Attraction. It is a completely different direction, and showed her range as an actress. Lucy and Michael Spector, a upper middle class Seattle couple, have been married for ten years, and long to start a family. After several failed attempts, they opt for an open adoption. Mary Stuart Masterson plays the expecting teenage mother who contacts them through the ad they placed in a out of state newspaper. What follows is an acurate and touching portrayal of four people, (including the baby's father,) who's rollercoaster emotions manage to be both funny and heartbreaking at times. I thought this movie was fantastic, engrosing from start to finish, and a must see for any fan of the actors in it! Eight stars!
As someone who went through much of what the movie portrays, I think it was beautifully written and felt true to life. I think the most wonderful thing about this movie are the subtle vignettes - like when Michael Spector is at a baseball game and sees a boy on his dad's shoulder ... everything becomes slow motion around it. And I absorbed the subtle shots of Linda dealing with everyday life and job, while going through treatments ... not many words had to be spoken to understand her sadness and stress. The insensitive doctors, friends, and the imperfections of Michael and Linda were important to understanding the layers involved. There were some touching and subtle moments between the Linda and Lucy that were great to see. Lucy's character was likable and genuine. A few years after this movie was released, I entered into an open adoption. When listing my favorite movies of all time, this one makes the list of my top ten, and I often recommend it to friends going through a similar situation.
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