When a tough New Yorker's mother is stricken with a serious illness, she is forced to quit her job and her relationship with her boyfriend to take care of her, finding out a lot of things she didn't know about her mother and father and her life along the way. Written by
L. Lim <email@example.com>
A fine family drama that rises above the schmaltz.
One True Thing rises above its potentially schlocky material to give us a view of a family of complex relationships and flawed, real people. It opens with Rene Zeleweger discussing her mother's death with the District Attorney; sparing us the cheap cinematic shots of a "shocking" illness and death. From there it proceeds into a look at a family system, in which everyone plays by a set of unexamined rules, and uses the mother's cancer to show what happens when all the rules change.
William Hurt as the self-important father, and Meryl Streep as the Suzy Homemaker mother are both superb; nuanced and not what they appear to be. Zeleweger is seething, angry and surprised with herself. Tom Everett Scott doesn't have much to do, but he does it well.
The story is predictable, and takes at least one badly soppy turn it needn't have taken, but the performances, and the view of family as a place where anger and love are equally mixed, make it worthwhile.
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