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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The DVD jacket in which this movie came describes it as "uplifting and humorous." Those are not the words I would have chosen - not by a long shot. I would choose a word like "sombre," sometimes even "depressing." Which isn't to say that it's a bad movie. It's actually a pretty good movie, featuring good performances from the leads, with enough uncertainty throughout about what's going to happen at the end that you keep watching. The uncertainty comes from the structure of the movie - it seems to revolve around Ellen's reminiscences of her mother's slow death from cancer, as she is interviewed by the DA. So, we know from the start that something suspicious happened at the end - the questions are "what?" and "who?"
Renee Zellweger was very good as Ellen - the somewhat resentful daughter who has to give up her life and job in New York to return home to care for her sick mother. Ellen evolves through the movie - moreso than any other character - as she learns to deal with both the strengths and weaknesses of her parents. Her relationship with her father (William Hurt) is quite interesting. My initial impression was that they were quite close, but the warts in the relationship start to show after a while. Hurt was effective as the detached husband - detached not in an uncaring way, but in the sense of being unable to cope with what's happening to his wife, and seeking escape from it in various ways. Finally, Meryl Streep as the cancer-stricken Kate was very convincing in the role, seeking to live out what remains of her life in the most fulfilling way possible, then dealing with the anger she feels at her increasing debilitation. In a way, watching a family deal with this kind of crisis reminded me a little bit of "Ordinary People," although this movie was far less emotionally intense. So, not "uplifting and humorous" (with all due respect to whoever wrote the synopsis on the DVD jacket) but very good in its own way. 7/10
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