|Index||2 reviews in total|
This film combines the realistic and the surreal into a delicious, yet quite believable family drama, with just enough sharp humor to satisfy your funny bone. Ellen Burstyn, always fantastic, is smashing as the mother hen of the brood, with very convincing performances by Amanda Plummer as her confused Bohemian daughter, Mary McDonnell as Burstyn's daughter-in-law, and the wonderful Genevieve Bujold as Joselle, the mysterious nun. The film is set in Montreal and nearly all the scenes take place either in a hospital room as the Cooperberg family awaits results from the patriarch's surgery, or in visits to the family's various therapists. A fabulous psychological comedy and superb performances by all.
"You Can Thank Me Later" is not an easy film to describe. Very little
actually happens--a mother and her adult children gather in a hospital room
to await the outcome of their father's operation, interact with each other,
step momentarily into their own private lives, and return to the hospital
room--all interspersed with black-and-white flashbacks of the characters'
visits to their respective therapists. (The mother, played all too
convincingly by Ellen Burstyn, is the exception: she views herself as
when she is in fact the chief cause of her children's varied neuroses.)
makes the film worth watching is not the plot but the interplay between the
characters--the lecherous older brother, Edward (Mark Blum), the gentle and
indecisive younger brother, Eli (Ted Levine), and their pathetic waif of a
sister, Susan (Amanda Plummer). It's difficult to find much sympathy for
smarmy and arrogant Edward, but decent, patient Eli clearly deserves better
than he has received from either fate or his family. Ted Levine, who
recently starred as the intense and passionate Starbuck in USA Network's
"Moby Dick," shows an entirely different side of himself here, conveying
veiled emotions through subtle changes of expression and an uncanny sense
timing that makes even the simple line "Burger King" memorable. There are
elements of mystery as well, mostly provided by Genevieve Bujold as the
father's former mistress disguised as a nun.
"You Can Thank Me Later" is not for viewers who crave action, though there's a surprising amount of tastefully filmed sex. But thoughtful viewers with a taste for character-driven scripts will appreciate the light irony and the fine acting in this under-appreciated Canadian film.
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