I went to Penn. My roommate was from an Italian family in South Philly and since I had a car, I accompanied him there often. The family dinner and kitchen scenes are totally authentic and filled me with nostalgia. I never would have picked Cloris Leachman as the Italian mother of the four title sisters, but she nailed it and becomes the glue that holds the movie together. Paul Sorvino is perfect (what else is new?) as the family patriarch. Lee Grant is a standout at Cloris' sister, stealing every scene she's in. Mercedes Ruehl as the glue that holds the family together (as opposed to the movie) is magnificent as usual. Dinah Manoff (Lee Grant's daughter) is perfectly cast as the artistic daughter who has remained single after being traumatized by the marriage she sees; Mark Harmon is sturdy in the thankless role of her boyfriend. The one who surprised me with being the most natural and least stereotyped of the entire crew was Sean Young. I feel like I knew the South Philly mother and estranged wife who handles her guilt with repression that she played. She was nothing short as brilliant. Jamey Sheridan was well- cast as her workaholic spouse from whom she is separated and the gal playing her daughter was good. The youngest sister, a special needs child who became that way via the clichéd fall by her mother while pregnant, is the one false note in this family drama. Her character and her performance both did not work for me.
But enough of it did work well that I enjoyed it throughout and recommend it - especially if you have any roots in Philadelphia.
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