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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 2,376 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 24 user | 24 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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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:

United Artists Pictures invites you on a journey... you will not soon forget. 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:

Brüder wider Willen  »

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

Although the storyline has James Earl Jones' character being about 6 years older than Robert Duvall's character, Duvall is actually older than Jones - by 12 days. 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

Gonna Get Faded
Written by Les Pierce
Produced by Nick Trevisick and Les Pierce
Performed by Les Pierce
See more »

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User Reviews

Acceptance & forgiveness - if only it was this easy
24 September 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A Family Thing is a drama about a Southen man (Duvall) who's mother reveals on her deathbed that he was not her child. Rather he was the result of a forced encounter between his father and the black help. In order to keep a promise Duvall sets off to find his half-brother (Earl-Jones).

Although the story seems to be about race - it's main theme is one of forgiveness and acceptance of others, with race being one of the barriers to break down.

All the characters have their own barriers to overcome - Duvall has to confront the fact that he is not white, Earl-Jones has to deal with his hatred of past events and Michael Beach has to come to terms with missing out on pro-football and the breakup of his marriage. Only the sagely aunt T. (Irma P. Hall) has the ability to accept everyone for whom they are - partly due to being blind "and not being able to judge folks on what they look like".

It's not an earth shattering piece of story telling and at times doesn't seem to have a consistent flow to it but it held my attention throughout and was actually quite rewarding.

It's all a bit tidy (in real life, nothing gets sorted this easy), but it definately makes you think.


13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Duvall is not believable. jeremy3
I love this movie! tynabop
Irma P. Hall = Oscar worthy performance cpmorr
More films like this? BERSERKERpoetry
Curtains are moving jbelcher-2
Why are DVD prices insanely high for this movie cahammill
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