The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)

R  |   |  Drama, Comedy  |  17 September 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 2,167 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 36 user | 35 critic | 17 from

An ambitious debut for writer/director Bart Freundlich charting the unrest with a family who gather together for thanks giving.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Randee Allen ...
Justin Barreto ...
Young Jake
Nicholas Bourgeois ...
Young Warren
Tom Cumler ...
Man at Train Station
Kelsey Gunn ...
Young Leigh
Cezanne (as James LeGros)
Polly Pelletier ...
Young Mia


An ambitious debut for writer/director Bart Freundlich charting the unrest with a family who gather together for thanks giving. Written by Jonathan Fox

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

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Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Back home  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$42,009 (USA) (19 September 1997)


$458,815 (USA) (7 November 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director, Bart Freundlich met his wife Julianne Moore while filming the film. Moore has said that one week after the shooting started they were together. They are now married and have 2 children. (2015) See more »


Jake: I know your true passion theory about two people destined to be together, but we can't all be filled with that much faith, trust and emotion. It just means if you have someone you're not alone. You're not going to find that in some fairy tale romance. Sometimes you have to sit through low times where you don't necessarily feel overwhelmingly, totally in love all the time.
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Referenced in Law & Order: Myth of Fingerprints (2001) See more »


Don't Be That Way
Written by Edgar M. Sampson / Mitchell Parish / Benny Goodman
Performed by Bing Crosby
Published by EMI Robbins Catalog Inc. (ASCAP) / Parmit Music (ASCAP)
c/o The Songwriters Guild of America
Courtesy of MCA Records
by arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

28 June 1999 | by See all my reviews

Ok, in all I loved this movie. I kept returning to a comparison of the other kids come home for another painful thanksgiving with the people you feel you have outgrown movie, Home for the Holidays. The Myth of Fingerprints was much darker, and in that way a little more real. No slap stick or cotton candy can be found in this film. However, this can also be looked at as a detriment. Other than an old movie shown twice in the film we see no evidence that this family ever liked, or even had any sort of playful feelings for each other. The joking atmosphere that mists about most families is conspicuously absent in this movie. So much so that you are nearly shocked to see Warren (Noah Wylie's character) attempt to comfort his sister Mia (Julianne Moore)when she is so obviously upset by something. You expect him to do as the rest of the family did: leave her there. They try to be a family. Warren, Leigh, and their mother (Blythe Danner) are the most accessible of this wacked out crew seeming to be the most feeling and tender. The father, Hal, and Mia are emotionally unavailable and distant, but Mia shows glimmers of hope every once in a while especially in her exchanges with her brothers and childhood sweetheart. Hal on the other hand remained a complete mystery to me. We see him trying to steal his son's girlfriend in one scene and watching home movies getting teary eyed at the sight of his young children in the next. I was barely aware that the eldest brother Jake was in the film, he was of little consequence but for one scene with Mia which is cut short in favor of sex with his girlfriend. They were all such very different people with one important thing in common. They loved their family and had no idea why. I think that's what it comes down to for all of us. After leaving home the first time we come back we look around and think, "Who the hell are these people?" I don't know if we ever figure out the answer to that question ever again. But I do know that one day, years after we asked it for the first time, we realize that whether we know who they are or not they are part of us and we love them. Even if we have to confront them, dislike them, or are forced to sever ties with them. It's just the way it is. "You have to remember the good things. They remind you of who you are." - The Myth of Fingerprints

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