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A Family Thing (1996)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  29 March 1996 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,455 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 25 user | 25 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Earl Pilcher Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining ... See full summary »

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Title: A Family Thing (1996)

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Drama

A road movie centered on the experiences a guy has with a gal he meets during his trip.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Virgil
...
Aunt T.
...
Ruby
...
Ann
Mary Jackson ...
Carrie
...
Karen
James N. Harrell ...
Earl Pilcher Sr. (as James Harrell)
Lauren Leigh Phillips ...
Kindra
Ashleigh Jordan ...
Danielle
...
Sonny
Sandra Quarterman ...
Young Aunt T. (as Saundra Quarterman)
Patrice Pitman Quinn ...
Willa Mae
Don James ...
Junior Turner
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Storyline

Earl Pilcher Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining he's not her natural son, but the son of a Black woman who died in childbirth; plus, he has a half brother Ray, in Chicago, she wants him to visit. Earl makes the trip, initially receiving a cold welcome from Ray and Ray's son, Virgil. His birth mother's sister, Aunt T., an aged and blind matriarch, takes Earl in tow and insists that the family open up to him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

With family, everything is relative. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, brief violence and a childbirth scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un asunto de familia  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$10,118,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this movie, Robert Duvall plays a bigot coming to grips with the fact that he has previously unknown black ancestry and relatives. Robert Duvall's real family tree includes the fact that he is distantly related (eighth cousins twice removed) to Barack Obama, the first black U.S. President, albeit through Obama's mother (who was white). See more »

Goofs

When Virgil & Ray are together in Virgil's car near the end Ray says that he hasn't been back to Virgil's hometown for 60 years which would be the birth year for Virgil however in an earlier scene Ray had confessed to having scarred Virgil by throwing a rock which had hit him as Virgil & his father were exiting a store. See more »

Quotes

Aunt T.: If he looks white it's 'cause his daddy's white. I don't know how he look, I can't see him like you can, and don't need to. I don't have the blessing of being able to separate people by lookin' at 'em any more.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Memo to the Academy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
Written by Isaac Hayes & David Porter
Performed by The Nightclub Band
See more »

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User Reviews

What a great movie.
16 October 2001 | by (Kimberling City, MO.) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie back when it first came to video. I didn't know anything about it, but I put it in anyway and sat back with an open mind. What followed for the next two hours was a fascinating story of a bigoted, Mississipi tractor salesman who finds out that he is half black. While this might not sound like a big deal, let me explain a bit. I grew up down in the delta, near the location that this movie was filmed. It is a big deal down there. Unfortunately, the majority isn't quite as color-blind as they are in other parts of the united states and bigotry is still a pretty common thing. I'm sad to say that there is still a little bit of a barrier there, and if more people were to see this movie, then I'm sure things would be a little bit different.

You see, Robert Duvall plays a fellow (not the most open-minded of sorts) named Earl. In the opening, we get to see the events that make up a typical day for Earl (coffee drinking, shooting the breeze, and selling tractors). We also learn that Earl's Mom isn't in the best health as she passes away ten minutes into the film. She also leaves a note behind telling Earl that she isn't his real mother. His real mother was black and Earl is the result of an affair that costs his blood mother her life. Since Earl came out looking white, he was raised up like nothing ever happened.

I can see it as a shock. One, Earl appears to be in his mid-fifties. (that's quite a big shock to a guy in the prime of his life) two, he discovers that not only is he a b**tard child to a mother he never knew, he also has an older half-brother. After all of this, Earl needs to take a road-trip to get himself together and maybe meet the brother he never knew. What follows next is a journey (both physical and spiritual) that will show ol'Earl a thing or two about life and love.

Written by Tom Epperson and none other than Ol' Billy Bob Thornton himself, "A Family Thing" is one of the best feel good movies I have ever seen. I highly reccommend it. It's pretty rare that a movie comes along that is good enough to change one's life. This oughta be required viewing for high-school students. What a film. 10/10


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