The Proposition (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  27 March 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,779 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 13 critic

Father Michael McKinnon goes from the UK to Boston circa 1935. For unknown reasons, he avoids at all costs the most prominent parishioners, Arthur and Eleanor Barret. Meanwhile Eleanor and ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hannibal Thurman
Bronia Wheeler ...
Arthur Barret
Jim Chiros ...
Dee Nelson ...
Pamela Hart ...
Dossy Peabody ...
Torrey Harrington (as Tom Downey)
Arthur's Chauffeur


Father Michael McKinnon goes from the UK to Boston circa 1935. For unknown reasons, he avoids at all costs the most prominent parishioners, Arthur and Eleanor Barret. Meanwhile Eleanor and Arthur desperately want to have a child, but Arthur is sterile, so they hire Harvard law student Roger Martin to impregnate Eleanor, but unfortunately Roger falls in love with her. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man gave up everything he owned. The other, everything he believed in.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare's Sister  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$61,560 (USA) (27 March 1998)


$121,875 (USA) (3 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Scott Wolf and Matt Damon were considered for the role of Roger Martin. See more »


A modern high-rise is visible between the buildings during the scene at the paupers' cemetery. See more »


They Can't Take That Away From Me
Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
Arranged by Sonny Kompanek
See more »

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User Reviews

10 June 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Love it or hate it, and the opinions seem to be pretty evenly divided, this is a compelling film because of the performances of three fine actors--Kenneth Branagh, Madeline Stowe, and William Hurt. The story is incredibly far-fetched but, a la Six Feet Under, because it deals with emotions and fantasies we've all felt, it works in some sort of quirky way.

Madeline Stowe is absolutely radiant--confused, vulnerable, strong, passionate. William Hurt perfectly combines the ruthless Wall Street professional and the condescending tenderness of a man of his time. Branagh is a cypher whose screen charisma makes him riveting.

Some of the nitpicking in earlier reviews seems wrong to me. The Mass vestments are exactly right for the solemn high mass of that period, as is Branagh's demeanor. Extreme Unction can in fact be administered for a short period after death, though not, of course, on a corpse in a coffin. In fact, the only reason to open the coffin before burial is so that Eleanor can see who it is that's being buried.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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