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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful drama with great performance by Annabeth Gish

Author: escaped from USA
26 March 2002

This fine production is a beautiful and faithful adaptation of the classic novel "A Death in the Family" about a 1915 Tennessee family with an almost idyllic life that is shaken with tragedy. In the lead role as Mary Follett, Annabeth Gish gives an amazing and touchingly real performance showing all the facets of this sensitive but strong woman who is a wife, mother, daughter, neice and sister to the other characters who are also excellently portrayed.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Superior drama provokes strong emotions

Author: dick lillard ( from baltimore, md
19 January 2006

Those of us in law enforcement are well aware of the strange syndrome in which those who witness the same event give wildly differing descriptions. So it is with films. Based on other critiques I've read, apparently "A Death In The Family" is as underwhelming for some as it was overwhelming for me. I find that, as usual, Annabeth Gish delivers the goods. One of the best kept "secrets" in recent film history, Ms Gish performs with abundant warmth and intelligence. She wisely underplays a role that in lesser hands might have contained an overbearing flurry of emotions. Outside of James Cromwell I was not familiar with any of the other actors but mention must be made of those portraying Gish's brother and aunt. The very title of the project obviously implies it is not going to be a Sunday school picnic.You will witness a disparate but inter-related group undergoing a severely traumatic event. It was a quick 91 minutes for me, and if you love and miss the golden age of film-making this is a more than adequate fill-in.

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Stellar Casting, Spot-on Dramatization. Based on a True Story.

Author: rlane1000 from United States
5 July 2017

The casting was great and includes a stellar performance by one of America's best actresses, Annabelle Gish, of Hollywood acting royalty. Eloquently written by, truly one of America's best writers, James Rufus Agee (1909-1955) who died fairly young but had much greater potential. Having only slight recognition in life, he was awarded a Pulitzer prize in 1958 for this posthumously completed piece. The movie deals mostly with young Rufus and his family growing up in Knoxville, TN. The period setting was true to the early 1900's. The cinematography was excellent. This motion picture is not an action thriller, so, if you're expecting that of course you would be disappointed. If you seek a dramatization that has an intimate feel and an good translation of life you will enjoy this film. Although some parts may not be suitable for very young children, this is a rare movie that you can watch with most all family members and not have to feel uncomfortable with certain scenes.

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A betrayal of the darkly poetic novel.

Author: aloudermilk111
13 April 2015

I hated this from the first minute and it pained me to watch. I ended up turning it off thee-fourths of the way through because it was just so gratingly insultingly woefully bad. Anyone who's read the novel will probably feel the same. There is not even an inkling of the darkly poetic drama of the novel--it's all bright and obvious and without any nuance--and it's quite disloyal as an adaptation. James Agee is the OPPOSITE of this adaptation's Hallmark-Hall-of-Fame style. I'm sure he'd punch the director, Gilbert Cates, right in the face or break a whiskey bottle over his head. Cates's previous film Collected Stories (2002) is stellar so I just don't know how he could get this SO WRONG!

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Near perfect gem

Author: altovista1904 from United States
14 February 2013

A simply beautiful, powerful, exquisite gem of a film superbly acted and directed by Gil Cates. Ordinary events of turn of the century life spawn deeply felt emotion as a family struggles to right itself when one member is killed in a car wreck. The acting has you believing these are not superbly drawn characters from the Agee masterpiece but real people coping with the injustice of mortality. Watching the ensemble interact was like being in a family living room over a hundred years ago and going through the gut-wrenching reality of life at its most complex turning point. I have no idea why it received such a low rating from viewers. There are only a handful of movies ever made that combine the elements of storytelling so perfectly as this one and have you saying at the end that it was perfect. This is one of them. I'm reminded of the first time I viewed Paths of Glory or To Kill a Mockingbird among others where every piece of the puzzle fit. Give this one a look and you will not be disappointed.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

nice movie perfect drama!

Author: kill-the-boxtrolls from United States
9 March 2008

very nice drama movie for the 2002 its sad because they called it death in the family but I actually cried over some movie people died once but I currently forgot it! A family movie to be watching for lots of good care but make sure don't watch it in the night or before you take a nap it is so drama, boring, and sad if you think it is... I had a very nice time watching it the first time but some of the parts are a bit cheesy but the little boy had to tell the teasing boys to stop witch is good, A death in the family perfect name! My brain was making my body comfortable and soft and I'm still looking for it online cause the youtube users didn't upload it plus it seems to be not around my town and I have to say that this movie is a bit to sad and strange for kids like under 7 and I had to chat about that it seems to have lots of heartbreaking and stuff to upset the little kids under the age like seven cause I have a seven year old girlfriend who likes this movie and when we together watched it (that's when I first watched it) she has never gotten sad or anything I was really delighted to see a dramatic movie like this I love sweet drama movies even the romance ones also the old movies that are in black and white so much!

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: confusedpandas from Connecticut
23 September 2002

This movie was horrible and corny. James Agee is rolling in his grave.This movie was nothing at all like the book and made a mockery of it. No one should see this movie unless they want to gag.

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6 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Hello plastic bag

Author: constancepetersen
8 March 2003

As I watched this movie, I felt as if a plastic bag was slowly closing in around my head. The acting was horribly stifling, and it was Bad Acting. The most brilliant piece of acting in the entire film was the guy who had to play laid-out-in-state-in-a-coffin. I felt nothing but relief when it was finally over. I was expecting that this film was going to be some real tragedy, with some deep psychological intrigue in the aftermath. All around it was stupid, no beginning, no climax, no ending, just rambling on and on, and the plastic bag kept getting worse. Let's get real here. This is an awful movie.

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