After a long absence, artist Margaret Church returns to her aging parent's home to finish a portrait of them. Her parents, Gardner and Fanny Church, unbeknownst to Margaret have sold the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gardner Church
Fanny Church
Margaret Church
Donna Mitchell ...
Marissa Pindar
Joyce O'Connor ...
Samantha Button
Mitchell Laurance ...
Ted Button
Hubert Hayden
Augusta Dabney ...
Elizabeth Hayden
John Murphy ...
Charles Wicstrom
Marty McGaw ...
Amelia Wicstrom
John Bennes ...
Ed Lillard ...
David Chandler ...
Lucille Patton ...


After a long absence, artist Margaret Church returns to her aging parent's home to finish a portrait of them. Her parents, Gardner and Fanny Church, unbeknownst to Margaret have sold the family home and are moving. While coming to grips with the loss of her childhood home and the memories it held, Margaret must deal with many issues ranging from her father's frequent and disturbing memory lapses, to her feelings of isolation from her parents. Fanny and Gardner are totally devoted to each other and absorbed in their love and life together, making their daughter feel left out. While struggling to get her parents to sit still long enough to paint their portrait, Margaret thinks they don't take her or her painting seriously. A conversation with her father makes Margaret finally come to the realization that her parents love her, appreciate her painting career and that they can't and won't change at their ages. Returning to NY for her premier art showing with the finished portrait, Margaret... Written by E.W. DesMarais <>

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Release Date:

13 February 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Painting Churches  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Working title: "Painting Churches" See more »


Remake of American Playhouse: Painting Churches (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Odd Child Out
29 October 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Not much action and even less of a plot, but The Portrait is a good character study of two elderly parents and their relationship with their daughter brought by two Hollywood icons and the daughter of one of them. And no this is not On Golden Pond redux.

Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall who teamed in 1957 for Designing Women co-star again in a very good made for television film in which the comparisons between it and On Golden Pond are startling. Both the leading men have backgrounds in academia, the daughter of the male lead plays the daughter in the film. Both concern the daughter's relationship with her parents. Both deal with the problems of old age, especially the husband who seems to be getting much more frail than the wife and developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Cecilia Peck plays their daughter who seems to have been an odd child out when she was growing up. Gregory Peck was a noted literary figure, a professor of English and Poet Laureate. Bacall was his student teaching assistant back in the day as we find out when two of the old hens who knew them when are gossiping at a faculty lunch.

Cecilia seems to have finally made it as an artist and she's anxious to have Mom and Dad at her first big gallery showing. But they're wrapped up in a big move they've not told her about. The old family homestead is being sold because it's too much to manage for the elderly parents.

But also there are the health issues. When Greg goes out and doesn't return of course Cecilia and Lauren go into panic mode. They do find him unconscious, no heart attack or stroke, but extremely dehydrated which can sneak up on you on a hot summer day.

The film is a bit slow, but the character studies run deep. And of course you can't go wrong with Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall at the top of the billing. Other than Cecilia's character, there are no secondary characters developed. But seeing the two icons is more than enough reason to view this well crafted story of old age.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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