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The Tie That Binds
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Tie That Binds More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A good, suspenseful, and emotional movie.

Author: anonymous from So. Attleboro, Mass
15 May 1999

I liked this movie. The directing was excellent and he used shades of red to produce enchantment around that cute little girl Julie Devin. Moira Kelley looked like a motherly angel and her husband was somewhat corny, but attractive and very fatherlike. Hannah sure has changed from Splash where she looks much more older yet she still shows a style and insecurity in her character. Hannah's character is presented as someone that is not completely evil, yet her muscular rowdy husband appears to be the real headmaster of their brutal plans. The violence in the movie isn't graphic and the love between Moira and Julie is wonderfully established. Hannah is silky smooth and appears to really fit the role of a dirty, insecure woman. I liked the way the movie made many connections of the theme like mother like daughter(also father) and the scenes when Julie used violence was quite surprising, humorus, and actually thrilling. The movie wasn't the greatest thriller, yet the characters, performances, and scenes showed talent and I was satisfied with the rental.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Poor Conclusion

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
14 February 2016

After robbing a house, the criminals Leann Netherwood (Daryl Hannah) and John Netherwood (Keith Carradine) stumble with the police and they need to flee, leaving their six year-old daughter Janie (Julia Devin) behind. Janie is sent for adoption and the photographer Dana Clifton (Moira Kelly) and husband, the architect Russell Clifton (Vincent Spano), adopt her and give love to the traumatized girl. Meanwhile Leann and John begin a crime spree trying to find their daughter to take her back.

"The Tie that Binds" is an effective low-budget thriller with a good story. The screenplay is well developed and builds tension, but unfortunately the conclusion is very poor. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Laços Diabólicos" ("Diabolic Ties")

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Excellent, until the end!

Author: jukebox-2 from Ottawa, Canada
30 November 1999

A good film, well acted with a good storyline - until the end that is! In the final 20 minutes or so, the scriptwriters obviously suspended logical actions of the characters in favour of a more dramatic and visual finale. Too bad, because this would have been an otherwise excellent film. Also, the inclusion of a real version of "Mr. Flip Flop" leading the little girl to the villain was unnecessarily cruel.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Better as it goes along. (minor spoilers)

Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida
18 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Tie That Binds started out as a slow-moving drama, primarily because it was caught up with moments of parental bonding since the story involves a young girl, her new foster parents, and the deadly pursuit of the girl's natural parents for their child. But, as the dangerous team of natural parents begin to close in on the unsuspecting foster parents, the suspense element begins to rear it's head, and the movie starts to become interesting.

The story begins with two nomadic hoods, Leann and John Netherwood (Daryl Hannah and Kieth Caradine being exceptionally weird), are in the middle of one of their weird home invasions (you have to see the introduction to know what I mean by this description) when their young girl, Janie goes wondering around outside. A suspicious neighbor calls the cops who show up on the scene to investigate and are met with the Netherwoods, disturbed from their routines, to save their child from being taken by the police.

Meanwhile, Janie's in a foster home. She's a strange and pretty violent kid (the scene with her at the police headquarters is really something to shout at) which aren't qualities so much given to her by her parents, but just a natural reaction to her alienating environment. We assume that Janie just has been isolated, with the exception of the company of her parents, for her whole life. And the adjustment is about to be a difficult one for her annoyingly loving foster parents, the Cliftons (Vincent Spano and Moira Kelly). They don't really seem like the type who can handle a fragile kid like Janie, but they make the best efforts. And it starts to work for all of them.

But, always lurking two steps behind are the begrudging parents, the Netherwoods, who vow to stop at nothing to get their daughter back. And it truly turns into a tense and deadly game for all (well...not really that many people) who know of Janie's whereabouts. And they really prove how serious they are about it, too. Although, by this point, you wonder if it is really Janie they care about. You sense it from the lady Netherwood, since she's always staring at this picture of Mother and Child, trying to emulate what she sees, and at the same time, being totally weird about it. She seems very protective of Janie, while her husband, John, just seems to be after some property.

The finale is a bit overblown and seems rather out of line. The movie doesn't quite keep you on your toes as say, some of the moments where adversary and protagonist almost meet or meet for the first, threatening time as they did in 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle' (same producers) or 'Pacific Heights.' The ending makes the final reckoning seem all too casual. And most of the screen time used for those awkward paternal bonding moments with the Cliftons and Janie seems too slow and boring, while the real action lies in the mounting pursuit of them by the Netherwoods. They should've kept that up throughout because that's where all the interest is generated, all the suspense.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A familiar and drawn-out thriller.

Author: gridoon
1 June 2001

Awfully familiar thriller stuff that takes longer to play out than it should and ends with a particularly overdone, overextended climax. The performances are generally good and there are a few bits of imaginative camerawork, but the familiarity of the material proves to be overwhelming. The film has no personality, and most of the scenes seem to be just copies of similar events in other thrillers. (*1/2)

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A candidate for the worst movie of the 1990s

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
18 August 2007

Thoroughly repugnant and wretched melodrama has the foster couple to a little girl terrorized by the child's psychopathic biological parents, who are on the lam from the police. Warped, irresponsible picture with thriller aspirations is more stupid than suspenseful. Director Wesley Strick seems to have fallen asleep at the wheel, how else to explain the piling up of one ludicrous situation atop another? Stars Daryl Hannah and Keith Carradine can't even scrape together the semblance of believability within this context, and both are at a loss (as the "innocents", Moira Kelly and Vincent Spano don't have it quite as bad, but their general lack of charisma puts them at a disadvantage regardless). Tiresome, unsubtle junk. NO STARS from ****

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The early 90s called. They want their thriller back

Author: rooprect from New York City
22 December 2015

To fully savor this movie, you have to realize that it attempts to compete with iconic early-90s thrillers like "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" (1992), "Sleeping with the Enemy" (1991), "Cape Fear" (1991) and the 80s flick that jump started the whole family-centered-crime-thriller genre, "Fatal Attraction" (1987).

Released in 1995, "The Tie That Binds", is a bit late to the party, and for that reason sometimes it feels like a contrived rehash of what we've already seen, but it still delivers an entertaining ride. The plot centers around a young girl who gets in the middle of a sort of custody battle between two couples. But this custody battle is not fought with legalities, it's fought with sharp metal objects and things that tend to make people bleed through the head. It's a clearcut battle of good vs. evil, so there's no moral ambiguity. Unless King Solomon was drunk on mevushal, he wouldn't need to debate more than 2 seconds on who deserves the kid. So the movie is more like a "run from the bad guys" sort of thing, linear, sometimes predictable, but fun.

Daryl Hannah and Keith Carradine play a psychotic Bonnie & Clyde while Moira Kelly and Vincent Spano play the most ideal yuppie parents anyone could ever dream up. Thus the stage is set. Good performances all around make this entertaining, although more cynical audiences may not buy how extremely stereotypical each character is. But hey, we're on the heels of the 80s where everything was clearcut black & white. Like I said above, don't expect any heavy issues of morality or any question of who is right and wrong. Just expect a straightforward game of "keep away" but with a bunch of blood. As others have mentioned, the ending chain of events is a little over the top, but heck. "Over the top" is what this movie delivers.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fails To Recapture The Spirit Of The Producers' Successful Film

Author: Desertman84 from United States
10 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Tie That Binds tells a story of a couple who are suffering and struggling after their adopted daughter is being reclaimed by her biological parents that happens to be a murderous couple and would go to any means necessary - legal or illegal - in doing so.It stars Daryl Hannah and Keith Carradine as the violent couple,who are also tries to harass the policeman that took their daughter away from them and the social worker who took care of her at foster home.Meanwhile Vincent Spano and Moira Kelly star as the adoptive couple who are in danger. It was directed by Wesley Strick.

The producers tried to recapture the spirit of their successful movie The Hand That Rocks The Cradle in this particular film.Despite of its complexities and sophistication in the story,it does not manage to do so as it came out mediocre in its genre.Too bad that the conclusion did not serve well with many of the viewers including myself as it was simply too implausible particularly when the young daughter was called upon to do something weird at the conclusion for the safety of her adoptive parents.Added to that,there was no depth into the characters and the story lacks background on them particularly the murderous couple.Some would also feel that this is one the worst films ever made during the 90's.

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3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Say goodbye to Jane

Author: Rainbow2003 from Montgomery, Alabama
13 February 2003

Vincent Spano is timid as Russell in this ambitious suspense farce. The following cast is pious. The costumes are casual. One of the fair movies in the genre, The Tie That Binds gives less suspenses. 6 out of 10.

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