Stepmom (1998) Poster


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Shari14 March 2003
A sweet and honest movie. It's definitely a family film. I liked the relationship of having to fill someone's shoes in a sense, because people are so attached to them. Sarandon was awesome of course. She carried her part with grace and the feral intensity of a mama bear. Nothing got over on her and I liked that because she wasn't going to be around much longer. It wasn't about sizing up the competition, but making sure she was the right person her kids could grow up with instead of her. It was heartfelt and real. Great film.
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A Stepmom review from a fan!
fanofreba13 April 2006
I loved this movie! If you are in the mood for a tear jerker movie, this is the movie too see. Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon are remarkable together. This is the absolute best I have seen Julia Roberts act and this movie defiantly brings out her talent. Susan Sarandon can make any movie good. But she delivers outstanding effort to make her character relate to other women who have had the problems that Susan's character faces. This movie is of course a 10 out of 10! Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon will make you laugh now and then, but they will also make you cry with the difficulties that they face together on screen. Stepmom is a movie you'll enjoy and "always always" remember as a movie that filled your heart. So if you haven't seen Stepmom yet...go and see it! You'll be glad that you did.
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delightful & heart warming ...
i_am_anuj24 May 2001
Stepmom is one of the most delightful movies in recent times ... ! It's a touching tale of maternal love that doesn't fail to move you no matter how many times you see it. It's a gem !

Stepmom tells you the story of an American marriage that loses its spark with time and the man seeks love outside of it. This sensitive film deals with how the family handles the delicate situation --- at times, holding out bravely ... and at other times, buckling under the emotional trauma ! The other woman, very ably portrayed by Julia Roberts, is a genuinely good human being who tries to bond with her lovers' kids inspite of their mother's (and their own) initial bitterness towards her. The plot thickens when the mother of the kids, portrayed with finesse by Susan Sarandon, is found to have cancer. The mother's days in the world are now numbered and the family must learn to carry on without her ... ! Stepmom now paints a warm and endearing picture of how the members of this family reconcile their differences and stand united and strong in the face of this crisis.

It would be UNFAIR if I rated this one anything less than 9 ... !
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Great movie!
Karok-27 January 2000
I'm still wondering why Susan and Julia didn't even get a nomination of the Academy, or the screenplay. This movie is a great movie about jelousy of a mother, that is scared that her children might love someone else as their second mother, and gives such a hard time to that person. And in the other hand, you see that young lady, in love (with the father of those kids), that forgives everything that has been done to her. She was called a bitch a couple of times (the dog scene with Ana, and when she brings the kids at Jackies, and Ana has make up). Was ignored, and even lost her job for those kids. And she forgives all of this, and tryes to like everyone. The world sure would be perfect if everyone would be this way. The problem is that the world has too many Jackies, and not enough Isabels.

If you are someone that likes to cry, and cry. Watch it. Is one of the sweetes movie ever, talking about peoples feelings, fears, and happynes. Great!
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foxy_pirate12 May 2004
I think Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts work so well together to make this a lovely, heart warming story. I loved every minute of it. I love the bit at the end where Anna says goodbye to her mum because it shows the relationship between mother and daughter beautifully which always makes me cry and think how I'll have to start appreciating my mum more!! Julia Roberts is my favourite actress and I have always wanted to see her and Susan Sarandon working together. Susan Sarandon's film Thelma and Louise reminds me of this film, two women facing dificulties and hardship to come out on top stronger and together.
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Very Beautiful
Jay Addison19 January 2007
I got Stepmom for Julia Robert's performance, and I expected it to be pretty good. It did not fail me- it exceeded my expectations. This movie is beautiful.

It's the story of a husband and wife with two kids who have fallen out of love, and now the father is getting married to a new, younger woman. The mother of the kids does everything she can to make her children hate this woman who is going to very soon be a permanent part of their life.

Julia Roberts indeed gives a fine performance as the fiancée of Ed Harris, the husband. She steals your heart in every scene she's in as this young woman who is trying so hard to be exactly what those children want and need. And in the end, she's searching for acceptance and love from them as much as they are from her. And then there's Susan Sarandon, giving one of her best performances as the mother of the children who wants nothing more than to remove her children from The younger woman completely. Sarandon's character is horrible- one of the most awful and hateful people in modern movies. She backstabs, she's overly-critical, and for a long time, she finds every chance possible to turn her children against the other woman- yet you cannot help but feel for her. As nasty as she is, you sympathize with this woman who is having to deal with her children being in the care of a younger, inexperienced woman who is living with her ex-husband. It's impossible not to understand her character's mourning and confusion. For the first time in her life, this woman is not the only mother in her children's life.

Don't be surprised if you cry- more than once. It's that good, and that affecting. Truly, this film is one of the better delights of the past few years. Beautiful story, great performances, real emotions- 8/10 stars!

Jay Addison
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Good Drama With Some Good Performances.
famousgir116 July 2001
Stepmom is a really good drama. Their are some very sad moments in the movie but their are also some funny ones too. Julia Roberts stars as Isabel, who is of course the 'Stepmom' and what a brilliant job Julia does. Other good performances come from Ed Harris who plays Luke, Isabel's boyfriend and Susan Sarandon who plays Jackie, Luke's ex-wife. Jena Malone and Liam Aiken also do quite a good job as Luke's kids Anna and Ben. The music in the movie is really nice too. I give Stepmom a 9/10.
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Just Wonderful
Darkest_Rose8 December 2002
I love Stepmom. I've seen it about a million times but it moves me every time and I'm always close to crying. Everyone does an amazing job. You could totally feel the chemistry between Susan Sarandson and Julia Roberts. You could feel the hate, the jealousy and at the end the understanding between these two. The younger kids do a great job too. They were very belivable. Funny, Heartwarming and a Tearjerker, Stepmom get's a 10/10 from me
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Two Thumbs Up!
namashi_19 December 2009
Chris Columbus directed 'Stepmom' is a winner all the way... a true 1998 Classic! The film is highly entertaining, in fact there is hardly a moment when you feel bored in this 123 minute-film. Columbus has made superb films, and 'Stepmom' ranks as his best.

The film has a beautiful story, a story about a divorced couple, their children and the Stepmom. The film explains the worth of a family... it surely leaves a great moral behind. The climax is superb, it gets you moist-eyed.

Performance-wise: Ed Harris is Incredible, as ever. He steals the show in a small, but significant role. Julia Roberts is fantastic as the Stepmom. Susan Sarandon needs to mentioning, she's a class apart. Liam Aiken & Jena Malone, the kids, stand out.

On the whole 'Stepmom' is a must watch for each and every cine-lover.
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The people are sooo self-involved
fashionme-1908224 October 2015
I saw this after getting a leukemia diagnosis..watched it alone in a hotel room..I had a son and son used to say the same things to me...great set-up for tears right?? Don't understand the ease with which Luke is able to just dump his family for Isabelle who doesn't seem to have any clothes other than leather or a burgundy sweater set...sorry these folks don't exist in real life. Why marry Luke Isabelle?? He has a young son but just "falls" out of love with his wife and leaves them?? I cry bullshit. Luke's answers are so maniacally 1 dimensional it frustrated me....and she is supposed to be some great photographer but is just willing to give up her career? Did anyone think the daughter was such a brat because Mom had issues when life focused on someone other than her?

Too many questions, pretty house - pretty topical stuff but too many selfish adults in one movie to make any sense.
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Sarandon and Roberts Shine!
atlasmb30 July 2013
Stepmom is a wonderful, life-affirming film that benefits from the great direction of Chris Columbus, the beautiful music of John Williams, and a great screenplay.

Ed Harris is great as the father, though his role is smaller. The two children are spot on. But what really drives this film are the portrayals of the mother by Susan Sarandon and the stepmother by Julia Roberts.

This film is about universal truths: Life has its ups and downs. Love has its ups and downs. Some of the strongest familial bonds are forged from needing. And when you really love someone, there is no wrong way to do it.

The story traces the progress between the mom and the stepmom--two women who have to face their fears of a new family dynamic. The mother was there for all the tender moments, all the wounds and all the memories. The stepmom is the "cool" one who knows the lyrics to all the songs and is current with today's fashions. To become a whole family, the mother must overcome her fear of being replaced and the stepmother must overcome her fear of comparison with an irreplaceable mother.

This is a tearjerker. The resolution goes far beyond the daily struggles of a family rent by divorce. Well worth seeing.
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bejasus25 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler alert -- (if you care about spoiling such an awful movie) -- There's one scene that captures just how ludicrous this movie is. A heart-to-heart between Julia Roberts, the younger new bride-to-be, and Susan Sarandon, the dying, middle-aged ex-wife. Susan Sarando talks about how she'll miss out on her children's future. Julia Roberts replies by saying imagine how *she* is going to feel in the future, when the girl is getting married and can only think about how she wishes it was her mother and not her stepmother there to help with her wedding.

I guess the screenwriter really expects us to swallow this. Sure, yeah, the REAL tragedy is that the new trophy wife will lack confidence. Come on Mom, quit feeling sorry for yourself! Cancer, chemo, and death before your children hit puberty -- well, that's nothing compared to the suffering Julia Roberts is going to face.

Wish I could get the two hours I wasted on this movie back.
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Sappy, manipulative drivel
Vladimir16 July 2006
I usually try to be objective when I watch films, to appreciate their technical merit above all else, but in the case of Stepmom, I fail. It's exactly the sort of puffy, ridiculous Valium that Hollywood shamelessly pumps into growing generations of cynics to brainwash them into the belief that every person in the world is a cuddly, fluffy elf-like creature and conflict only exists because it's been too long since we all sat down for a singalong around the piano.

I know I sound like a terrible cynic for judging this film in this way (I am a terrible cynic, let's not deny it), but it's difficult to swallow this tripe. I come from a - dare I use that devilish phrase - broken home myself and in fact my old man is getting remarried very soon, but I still fail to see any resemblance between Chris Columbus' vision of family harmonics and the interpersonal dynamics that exist here on Earth. And by that I refer both to the grating, fire-and-brimstone conflict at the beginning of the film and the sugary hug fest into which it slowly descends as it progresses.

There is however, nothing inherently wrong with sugary, optimistic scenarios; if they are grounded, well-driven, well-plotted explorations of discovering the light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard for me to put my finger on a perfect example but the most obvious one would have to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has nevertheless received a certain quantity of criticism from yours truly for drawing too distinct a line between "good" and "bad". In spite of that trilogy's shortcomings though, it's a good example of a golden-sunshine-lollipops conclusion that is plodded out solidly over a long arduous journey of storytelling.

Chris Columbus here dispenses with any nuance of hard work, or respect for his audience's intelligence, and dishes up a glib, emotionally manipulative treat for us to wolf down hungrily, starved for happy endings in our cinematic universe of chainsaw massacres and David Lynch.

There really isn't a saving grace to this film, as far as I can see: Its lack of realism obviously renders me incapable of truly appreciating whatever fine qualities it may have, but the dialogue is dull, performances are average and being such a suburban story, there really isn't much room for technical film-making brilliance. On top of this, every single time I think back on it I get "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" stuck interminably in my head, and that, more than anything else, is unforgivable.

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I have seen 3000 movies in my lifetime. Stepmom was the first I ever walked out of in my life.
TomCees28 December 1998
Stepmom after being hyped by its two stars for the past month was without any doubts the worst movie I have ever seen. It replaced that horror of horrors "Body Guard". The characters were unlikeable the plot was non-existent and the dialog could have been written by a high school freshman. Every one from stars,who by the way were executive producers (thus the reason for the hype), to the director should be held responsible for putting this piece of trash in theatres. The only redeeming factor from the entire miserable process was that Ed Harris only embarrassed himself three maybe four times. Two words say it all..."IT STUNK" .
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Pando5 December 1999
They showed this movie on the bus from Amherst to New York. It hurt. It hurt a lot. The squealing little moppet, the two dimensional characters, the overused plot contrivances, the steriotypes, the hideous music, the pathetic attempt at emotional manipulation, the... the "dialogue" if that's what it can be called... How bad was it? Well, the bus was delayed, so they showed "Money Train", too. And after the horror that was "Step Mom", "Money Train" actually felt like a breath of fresh air.

I got to see "Step Mom" on the way back, too. Thanks, "Peter Pan"!
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Too melodramatic
Tweed-327 December 1998
The movie was filled with good actors but it just didn't make it. The melodrama was overdone and it was too long for its simple plot. I was disappointed and very glad I hadn't talked my husband into coming with me. The thing that makes me laugh is that had it been a tv movie it would have been laughed at by the critics. As a multi-million dollar Hollywood extravaganza, the critics have tried hard to be kind. They've tried too hard, those who follow the hype will be quite disappointed and find it hard to sit through to the "one more tear" end.
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The Cheesiest Movie Alive
xphile6311 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
*Minor spoilers ahead*

Julia Roberts strikes again! Basically, this film is a big ol' sticky wad of total melodrama about a bunch of snobby, spoiled rich people throwing tantrums whenever they don't get their own way. It's supposed to teach the audience something about growing up and bonding with stepparents and coping with divorce and terminal illness and a whole slew of other things, but in the end it's just stupid, contrived and stereotypical. All three of the female characters (Jackie, Isobel and Anna) are self-absorbed, rude and manipulative and the younger child (I forget his name) is supposed to be all cute and handsome and charismatic and blah-de-blah but instead he quickly becomes annoying. Anyway, the plot basically goes round and round in circles for the first forty-five minutes and then the writers realized that it wasn't going anywhere and decided to deal the Tearjerking Terminal Illness(tm) card just to wrap it up. So they have Susan Sarandon's character get cancer, resulting in a half-million Heartwrenching Goodbye Sequences(tm) which ultimately bring the family closer together. I have a lot of respect for many of the actors in this film, but in all honesty, the film itself was way too cheesy for me to stomach (no pun intended). If you're a big fan of any of the actors, it's probably worth it, though.
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Raising Kids
tedg14 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

When I stumble across a film like this, I wonder about the genre engineering that went into it.

`Let's see,' I can imagine the discussion: `a standard sickness/death movie but this time the redemption will be tied to making piece with a divorce. That gives us a chance to do lots of minidramas involving the children and the father's new lover.'

Nodding heads all around. But the one person in the room who thinks expresses concern that no one will come to such a film despite the attractive demographic engineering. This person suggests that the girlfriend be a parallel center of the film, that they get an endearing draw, like Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan. This way, the relentless drama can be balanced by cuteness and comedy. In due course, the group agrees on splitting the film, essentially divorcing the two threads: death and charm.

The two kids have to be split too: one to be serious (with some minidrama in her own life) and one to be comic, pulling all sorts of enchanting pranks.

We end up with a blended film from blended genres about a blended family. It works about as well as your average blended family.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 4: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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A great and very sad movie with a great cast.
Patton-27 February 1999
A great and very sad movie with a great cast. Probably another Oscar nomination for Susan Sarandon as the mother. Julia Roberts has the clueless but trying hard stepmom role down perfectly. The kids in this movie are great as well. I hope to see more from them in future. Rating:10
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Incredulous and not entertained.
mcfly-427 December 1998
The first two thirds of the film are quite clearly stated by the sixty-second trailer. The big screen, unexpurgated, version serves only to make these loathsome and hateful people (well portrayed by Susan Sarandon and Jena Malone) more substantial and more tangible. The events of the last third of the film are intended, I assume, to turn around our perception of these characters and somehow make them more endearing. Well, for me, it just didn't work. Although the acting was at least competent, the apparent moral of the story of absolute forgiveness under adversity was just not plausible.

If you are a staunch Julia Roberts fan you may appreciate her portrayal of the unquestioning Isabel but are not likely to enjoy the abuse her character must endure.
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so sad and so good!
Alejandro Marrón9 November 2009
God, i can't believe this movie is rated 6.2. It should at least be rated 7.5, and it could even be 8.5!

Let's just say this movie is the one that has moved me and made me cry the most in my whole life. Well, moved me in a sad way.

I don't know what kind of ability Susan Sarandon's got, but all she did in this movie made me cry. She's such a good actress, and this movie suits her perfectly.

I've never been much of a Julia Roberts' fan, considering i find Notting Hill and pretty woman kind of boring, but i loved her in this movie, how she really tries to bond with the kids and Susan to get to the point where the kids almost rather being with her than with their mom. Julia gives her best, in my opinion, she is a very good actress as well. Drama suits her.

The kids are the other thing that gives movie that amazing flavor. How the girl answer to Susan, Julia and her dad is just so sad and good. Klaus Baudelaire's actor is so small and great as the little kid, who knows enough of the situation and gives the movie it's nice and happy moment.

I didn't think the husband was anything important.

And, of course, what makes this movie as sad and as great as it is, is the incredible directing of Chris Columbus, who directed two of the movies of my favorite movie series and book series: Harry Potter. I don't know why, but he's just got this gift for directing. Oh god, when i saw it i didn't know it was Columbus', and when i realized i now know why it's great.

Some may say it's melodramatic, but i wouldn't agree. It's just good drama, one of those were you can't stop crying but that has a good plot involved as well.

Bottom line, loved it. Very enjoyable and i recommend it highly. Good job Columbus, as usual.
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... Bitch, PLZ.
mizunoakashi15 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has been exhibited countless times in A&E for Latin America. And each time it is, I hate it more.

The only characters I didn't want to punch and stab were the little boy and the future step mom: the dad was nonexistent and couldn't even try to hold his own against his mega-bitch of an ex-wife; the daughter was a whiny, lying, rude brat who YET AGAIN perpetuates the "Daddy's little girl who HATES every attractive woman next to him because Mommy Said So" stereotype; and Susan Sarandon's mom chara was one of the most overbearing, spiteful, misogynistic mother charas I've ever seen, who spoils her babies rotten to the point of making them completely detached from reality while practically abusing the unfortunate girl who's gonna "replace" her when she's gone, just because she commits the sin of being prettier, younger and with a modern mindset. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for her when she finally kicks the bucket, after all she has made others go through?

Not even great actors like Sarandon, Harris and Roberts can save this pile of manipulative, cloying, fake, pseudo-deep crap.
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Horrific cry flick...
Eyeblood24 February 1999
I don't want to sound harsh, but this movie bored my coke flat and my popcorn stale. It bored me so bad that I had a fight with my girlfriend about emotions. There is only one reason to rewatch this movie. I want to do a scientific study of how many times one of the characters cried, or almost cried. Now don't get me wrong, like my girlfriend did, emotions are necessary for a movie to be good. I can't stand movies, and it seems to be either the French, if subtitles can be emotional, or Hollywood that make these movies, that are obviously trying to suck me in by squirting tears in my eye. The whole movie was a magnanimous fairy tale. I would have called it, "Trouble in Never-neverland." Everyone lived in a beautiful house, with beautiful things, with lots of money, being beautiful themselves, having cute kids, having cool jobs, and even the damned dog was cute. Blah!! If someone in Hollywood is listening, drop the budgets and raise the quality. It's a good thing movies have a loud song during the ending credits to wake people up.

Look to the horizon. It is void of RIDERS.
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Good acting, but badly overdrawn, psychologically inept writing
DrTBob8 July 2000
In this maudlin, melodramatic fantasy, we have five main characters: The stepmom Julia Roberts), the mom (Susan Sarandon), the dad (Ed Harris), and two kids. The stepmother's role is the only one of the male roles to emerge faintly from one dimension, to resemble a live person. The mom is a controlling, spiteful, know-it-all, who also somehow manages to muster immense, flawless tenderness with her kids. The dad is just good. The daughter resembles a person; the son, some narcissist's self-image of himself in childhood, remarkably charming and good-natured. As I watched it, I figured, "This was written by someone with a godawful, but dead, obsessive-compulsive mother to whom he was overly close in childhood, whom he feels bad about hating now, especially since he likes his stepmom so much." The performances are excellent, but the characters are so incredible that this is more cartoon than drama. Some parts were so predictable and mawkish I just fastforwarded through them.
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Manipulative star-vehicle which the talented stars cannot save...
moonspinner552 February 2007
After Ed Harris and Susan Sarandon separate, he proposes to new girlfriend Julia Roberts, with Ed and Susan's confused kids forced into taking sides. Manipulative, "heartwarming" movie filled with adorable characters all hiding their collective wonderfulness under scowling masks of sarcasm. It represents the nadir of the notorious 'Ali MacGraw disease' (in this case, cancer) wherein someone gets to expire slowly, and lovingly, all the while glowing with strength, warmth and acceptance. Sarandon dances around the house with her children ("Sweatin' To The Oldies" without Richard Simmons?), Roberts orchestrates Sarandon's daughter's put-down of a middle school Lothario, and poor Harris disappears "at the office" whenever the script warrants a verbal cat fight between the two ladies. It's directed at the "Terms Of Endearment" crowd, but with dialogue such as, "Don't walk out on your mother!"..."No Dad, that's your job!", I would suspect smart viewers would take an early walk. *1/2 from ****
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