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The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)

R  |   |  Drama, Comedy  |  17 September 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 2,149 users   Metascore: 58/100
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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 »

Parents Guide:



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:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

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.
See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Myth of Fingerprints (2001) See more »


Written by Jack Lawrence and Walter Gross
Performed by the Rozz Nash Sextet
Published by Edwin H. Morris & Company
A Division of MPL Communications, Inc. (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

A family gathering
13 December 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Thanksgiving is that time of the year loved by movie makers as it presents an opportunity to bring together families, even dysfunctional ones. Bert Freundlich sets "The Myth of the Fingerprints" in such a setting. We saw the film it during its initial release, we thought it was a good effort for a young man starting his career in films. On second viewing, the other night, the film, although enjoyable, did not have the same effect as when it made its debut.

First of all, some of the relationships don't ring true. That is the case of Mia, the oldest of the girls. We watch as she and Elliott arrive by train while they are involved in a quickie before getting home. This action of being seen in public in such a compromising position, is completely out of character with the Mia we get to see in the scenes that follow. Right after they get to the family home, we get the impression these two are as compatible as oil and vinegar. What is she trying to prove? She goes into town with an attitude of a city slicker, when she meets Cezanne. She reacquaints herself with the boy that had a crush on her, but she has erased from her mind, to the point of appearing this guy was from Mars. This, we didn't buy. Her eventual involvement with Cezanne is something Mia, who hates the rural setting of her youth just doesn't make sense after her haughty demeanor and city ways.

Then there is Warren. He still pines after the loss of Daphne, the beautiful former girlfriend who comes to see him when he gets home. Daphne obviously has not stopped loving Warren, but there is an incident that happened some time before during a party. When she tells Warren about it, it becomes plain he had witnessed the incident, but didn't do anything to stop it from happening.

The seemingly contented parents are also a puzzle. The father, Jake, is an enigma. He is a taciturn man who doesn't interact with his children well. Lena, the mother, seems to know much more than what she led us to believe about her marriage and her relation with Jake.

The acting, in general, is good, no small feat to achieve by someone without much experience under his belt, but Mr. Freundlich succeeds in getting some inspired appearances, especially from Noah Wyle and Julianne Moore. The cast is young and do ensemble work. Hope Davis, Blythe Danner, Arija Baeikis, Michael Vartan, are seen among the supporting cast.

Bart Freundlich showed a promise with this film, and has continued to be among our best young directors since this effort.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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