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Parenthood
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Reviews & Ratings for
Parenthood More at IMDbPro »

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64 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

Are you someone's parent? Are you someone's child? SEE THIS MOVIE!!

Author: Paul Dana (crystalseachurch@juno.com) from San Francisco, CA, USA
18 April 2001

When "Parenthood" first came out, I did my level best to avoid it, certain that it seeing it would be roughly akin to being embalmed with maple syrup. Then came that dreadfully slow night at home a couple of years later, faced with a choice on the ol' tube between endless reruns of "Three's Company" and HBO showing -- oh, no! -- "Parenthood." So I clicked on HBO, gritted my teeth, prepared for the worst . . .

And was wrong.

Ron Howard is one savvy filmmaker. Maybe one of the savviest, I'm not sure. But I do know that, to make "Parenthood," he combined his savvy with all the heart he could muster (which was plenty, apparently) and that the result is a masterpiece.

Virtually every aspect of parenting is examined; moreover, it is done in a way that -- miracle of miracles! -- causes you to think, and to feel, every bit as much as it makes you laugh. Throat lumping up? Not to worry, here comes another belly-laugh to smooth it out.

The key to the film's message may lie with Jason Robards' speech --"There's no goal line in parenting, no end zone where you spike the ball and that's it . . ." -- or it may lie with Keanu Reeves -- "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to drive a car or buy a dog . . ." -- or it may simply be Gil Buckman's (Steve Martin) heroism in salvaging his emotionally disturbed son's birthday party; then again, it might be embodied in the frantic, stressed out stoicism of Dianne Wiest's single mom character as she comes to grips with her teenage daughter's choices and impending motherhood. But wherever you find it herein, the message is simple and profound: Parenthood is nothing less than heroism on a daily basis. Quiet, unheralded, underappreciated heroism.

One of the finest things about this movie is that nobody steps out of character. There are no miraculous revelations, no nick-of-time cavalry charges or character transformations. Characters here solve their individual dilemmas by growing WITHIN their characters. And realistically, at that.

It's been said that a really good story leaves its author crying as he/she writes the final pages. Sometimes -- not often enough -- a really good movie can leave a reviewer the same way as he finishes his commentary, crying and laughing simultaneously.

Well, don't just stand there! Someone get me a Kleenex!!

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Excellent mix of comedy and drama.

9/10
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands
2 May 2006

This might very well be the most balanced- and excellent mix of drama and comedy I have ever seen. I already loved "Parenthood" when I was a kid and I perhaps love it even more now as a grownup, when I recently watched it again.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this movie is in its realism. Sure every character and event in the movie are somewhat silly and over-the-top but yet they also feel like very real problems and persons at the same time. This due to the great portrayal of the drama elements in the movie. These are real, recognizable or not, family-issues portrayed in this movie. It handles some delicate subjects but never without a smile as well. It makes this movie both touching and warm to watch, as well as fun and amusing.

Reason why both the dramatic and comical elements all work so well is also thanks to the cast. The movie has many well known actors in it. Tom Hulce especially impressed me and also Steve Martin was a great leading man, from the period when he was still funny in movies. Solid as always were Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Wiest. Rick Moranis surprisingly doesn't play a loser this time but he still is a nutty character in the movie. He shows in this movie that he also has some real acting skills. Keanu Reeves is also good in his role, from the period when he appeared mostly in just comedies. The still very young Joaquin Phoenix also plays a great and quite big role in the movie.

It has some totally unforgettable moments in it, both comedy-wise as in its drama. It all makes this movie one of the most warm and subtle movies ever made. It doesn't try to be funny, it doesn't try to be melodramatic. The end result of it all is an extremely well balanced and crafted mix of drama and comedy that works on both levels. You can watch this movie as a drama or as a comedy, so fans of both the genre will be pleased with this movie that surely does not disappoint in any way.

An early subtle Ron Howard masterpiece, that is criminally underrated here on IMDb.

9/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/

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28 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

parenting 101 (and a graduate course)

Author: (wotrwokr@msn.com) from winston salem, nc. u.s.a.
2 July 2004

there are movies that entertain... enlighten... challenge... confuse.

parenthood is a movie that will be more and more a classic as YOU move through life. it's a look at family-life and how we do the right things and the wrong things as we move from the "parentED" to the "parentERS". as lead-pastor of a church that is dedicated to serving 19 to 29 year olds, this is one movie that is as much a teaching lesson as it is entertainment.

when one looks to learn, there are many notes to be taken here. equally entertaining, the whole ensemble is stellar as it portrays the inner workings of the buckman family tree.

the 4 children of the patriarch and matriarch have grown and are now dealing with the parenting world first hand. they deal with the issues we all do: workaholism, divorce, "super"parenting, self-promotion, etc. as their circles of life intersect (and they always do...), all the family members come to some conclusions... between over-parenting and under-parenting, there's a place where love resides in all of its splendor and strain. love HAS to win the day... even when those we love do and act they way that troubles us. life is an eXpedition:... where we can struggle through it alone, or in with the support of others... but we're definitely going to have to be moving forward.

"parenthood" reminds us all of the journey we're on. as parents we really cannot live FOR our children... for really, we ALL are children... still learning and making mistakes along the way. we recognize that what we really need in our lives are people who will love us all along the way. we then realize this is what our children need as well.

the movie has so many deeply poignant, yet roll-on-the-floor funny moments.

two of many favorites: when the patriarch (jason robards)talking to (steve martin) realizes that his job as father never ends... "there is no end, you never cross the goal line, spike the ball and do your touchdown dance, never... i'm 64 and larry is 27... and he's still my son, like kevin is your son... you think i want him to get hurt?... he's my son". also when grandma explains life to her joy of a roller-coaster over a merry-go-round... "that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together... some didn't like it... they went on the merry-go-round... that just goes around... nothing... i like the roller-coaster... you get more out of it". life is seen as it's best understood... an amusement park that we all are going through. our perspective and our faith are the important factors.

to me, this movie is way more then entertainment... it's a blessing. it will teach... if we are willing to learn.

enjoy... and take good notes, ron

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26 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Good performances from a lot of good actors

9/10
Author: d858thompson from Escondido, California
7 February 2005

This is a classic ensemble film. It has an amazing cast of very talented people. I wonder how they got so lucky to get so many really good actors together with such varied films behind them. Steve Martin does a really good job and never has a bad moment in the film but the rest of the cast is great. Easily, one of Keanu Reeves' best early films. Joaquin Phoenix is great in his role. Dianne Wiest is priceless and has some really good scenes, including those with her daughter Martha Plimpton. Whatever happened to Martha Plimpton by the way? She was great in this and in "Running on Empty." Who plays that grandmother? She's great! Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis... Goes on and on. And the great Jason Robards. One of the finest actors this world has ever known. This is really a good movie about families - the good and bad side of them and some great moments about fatherhood. This is really, really a good movie and one that can be appreciated by so many people. A good rental - a good family movie. Go for it!

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding!

Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
20 April 2003

This is a wonderful film that takes full advantage of both a great script and an outstanding cast. It shows, with equal measure, the joys and pain of parenting. We see great examples of dysfunction and love. It is sentimental, but not to the point of being unreal.

Steve Martin gives a tremendous performance as a father, who wants to be everything that he feels his father wasn't: loving, caring, and involved in his children's lives in a positive manner. He is torn between his duties as a provider and the need to be there for his children. Mary Steenburgen is wonderful, as always, as a devoted wife and mother. She tries to keep her family on an even keel and to soothe their anxieties, her husband included. She conveys so much with just body language and has a smile that seems to come from her soul. Jason Robards is his usual powerful self, as the patriarch who made himself a success, but at the expense of his family. He recognizes his mistakes and finds a chance to make some amends in his twilight years.

Diana Weist is the single mother, trying to provide for her troubled children, and find some life for herself. She wants to give her kids what they want, but is torn between giving to them and watching them make mistakes. Rick Moranis is the parent who wants their child to succeed, to the point of smothering their childhood. He wants the best for his child, but fails to see that childhood should be as much about play and new experiences, as it is about education. His wife wants the same, but wants their daughter to be a little girl, too. She also wants another child, but feels that she is alone in this area and is losing her husband. Tom Hulce is the irresponsible, youngest sibling, who has run off whenever things have become too tough. Things get tough when you are a parent, and he stays true to form.

The young actors are all tremendously talented and the little ones are quite cute. It is no surprise that these performances are so good, given that the director was a child actor himself. Ron Howard really knows how to bring the best out of young actors, as well as their adult counterparts.

There is so much to savor in this film. There are great laughs and touching moments. There is drama and satire. There is the joy of watching great character actors display their craft. There are the clearly defied roles, with great complexity, that are easy to identify with.

This is a film that all parents should see. Kids should see this, when they are old enough to understand the sacrifices that their parents make for them and why they make the decisions that they do. Parenting: it's the toughest job you'll ever love!

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Parenthood

Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
11 June 1999

Winning ensemble comedy about the humurous and tragic tribulations of parenting that is for all ages. Robards is wonderful as the patriarch of the family but it's Martin who stands out, especially in the wonderful "Cowboy" scene. The film is heartfelt and ends on a tender note. Randy Newman leads his through the work with his grand tunes. He was Oscar nominated for his song, "Love to See You Smile." Wiest was also Oscar nominated.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Thoroughly enjoyable comedy drama

8/10
Author: Bjorn (ODDBear) from Iceland
7 April 2006

Parenthood is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy drama that you feel doesn't take as many convenient short cuts as many family movies do. Everyone has a colorful family to some extent; most (I hope) are full of good natured people but there are always rotten apples floating around.

Director Ron Howard puts many lives on display and different challenges each one faces and every one of these inspections have something to offer. Steve Martin's reactions to his older son's adjustment problems are very well realized, with many humorous moments, to be sure, but at the core is a maturely handled and moving segment, and Martin has rarely been better.

Diane Wiest's family drama consists of her inability to communicate properly to her two teenage children; the daughter a temperamental rebel with a "loser" boyfriend, the son a nearly recluse loner with raging hormones who thinks something is wrong with him (what guy hasn't been there at least once?). Superb performances form Wiest and (yes, surprisingly) Keanu Reeves really fuel this story which never loses itself despite seeing many humorous aspects in a rather depressing household.

Jason Robards plays the family father who hasn't been all that good to his children since...well ever, and he faces a tough assignment when he has to admit to himself that one of his children, who has learned the most from him, is heading into disaster fast. The scene where he asks Steve Martin for advice is a moving scene in so many ways; it's never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks.

Rick Moranis's tale of his insanely intellectual daughter is my least favorite but it does have a very charming conclusion. And that granny is priceless.

Parenthood may be even better for those who have children and can identify with some situations depicted here but as for me, I think I can learn a thing or two for years to come.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

One of Ron Howard's best movies.

Author: wishkah7 from Brooklyn, NY. (Where I'm from originally.)
9 January 2001

This is a flick every parent should see. Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen play embittered parents raising their 3.4 kids, one of which is emotionally disturbed. It centers around two families who live in the same neighborhood.

Also, Rick Moranis was great in this to, as a father of a daughter who was a child prodigy who knew everything, but how to have fun. Both families go through the struggles, hardships, joys, and the good times of raising children. Whether they're rebellious teenagers or 'black sheep'.

The whole birthday party scene was a real scene stealer! And all the characters from both families and this movie's plot were all very realistic! So, next time movie night is planned for your family, rent Parenthood. I recommend this movie for any family to see! And might I add, Ron Howard's best and most superb film he ever made! I give it 5 stars!

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Sweet, warm-hearted, and subtle comedy

6/10
Author: LaChantefleurie from USA
20 September 2002

One of the things I like about this movie is its...lack of obnoxiousness. Other comedies throw their scenes in your face with little tact and no subtlety, but not so with this movie. Not to say that it isn't funny. It's absolutely hilarious! But the main thing that appeals to me about Parenthood is the warm heart that is at the center of it all. These characters have nuanced, complicated, and not overly dramatic problems. Just like REAL PEOPLE, and unlike many of the one-faceted characters seen in movies today.

And what better actor to play Gil than Steve Martin? A comedic genius, Martin is capable of playing anything from slimy to sincere, conforming perfectly to his role, and it helps that he's not a cynic. Also watch for great appearances by Tom Hulce, perhaps best known as Amadeus (poor guy, where'd his career go?) and a very young Joaquin Phoenix as Gary.

All in all, a very funny and very sweet comedy that I will give a 9/10!!

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Terrific family movie

10/10
Author: Snoopymichele from CT
21 July 2006

This is one of Ron Howard's triumphs, and one of the best movies about family relationships.

It's got a dream cast and reads like a who's who of popular 80's actors-Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Keanu Reeves,Dianne Wiest, Martha Plimpton, Tom Hulce, Harley Kozak, Rick Moranis-and the terrific Jason Robards and an outstanding (albeit young) Joaquin Phoenix. All give phenomenal performances that were tailor made for them. Who else but Steve Martin could be Cowboy Gil? And who but Dianne Wiest could portray a tough as nails, but sweetly feminine single mother? And who else but Keanu Reeves and Martha Plimpton could have been the Romeo and Juliet wannabes Todd and Julie? Some of the situations in the film could seem far-fetched, but the likability of the cast is so immense that you just have to take it as it comes. They make the script work, and Ron Howard's direction is superb.

I have seen this movie several times through the years, and it never gets old, it just gets better. This is absolutely one to own!

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