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Strange Relations (TV) More at IMDbPro »My Beautiful Son (original title)

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Julie Walters in a role suitable for her talents -- A real treat!

10/10
Author: herbqedi from New York, NY
16 May 2004

I consider Walters the top screen actress of the past 20 years -- I'd pay to watch her read Direct-TV fan letters. She makes ordinary movies (Stepping Out, Sister My Sister, Clothes In The Wardrobe, etc.) seem quite good -- and good movies (Educating Rita, Prick Up Your Ears, Just Like A Woman, Billy Elliott, and Calendar Girls) seem great whenever she's on the screen. Here, she has a perfect role for her immense talents as a working class Liverpudlian Mum faced with the sudden arrival on her doorstep of the son (Paul Reiser) that she was force to put up for adoption forty years ago. She gets the use he entire spectrum of her immense talents: the auditory, the physical, the facial nuance perfection, the movements, the humor, the drama, etc.

Happier still, the combination of terrific supporting performances by the entire cast, believable people as its insightful characters, and a wry screenplay that manages to deliver many smiles, titters, and the occasional belly-laugh. Kudos to Director Weed and Screenwriter/Co-Producer/Cameo-Actor/SNL-Alum Tim Kazurinsky because accomplishing all this is no trivial task -- when you've had a chance to think about the plot. The shamefaced story-line is ye olde "I'm-a-rich-New-York-Doctor-dying-of-cancer-so-my-mother-told-me-I-was-adopted-so-I-could-crash-into-the-lives-of-my-birth-mother-and-her-family-members-in-impoverished-Irish-Liverpool-so-I-could-try-to-find-a-bone-marrow-transplant-while-learning-insights-from-my-new-culture-where-I-am-a-fish-out-of-water." Moreover, the movie gets its largest incredulity out on the table right in the beginning. Paul Reiser's Dr. Jerry Lipman is actually purebred Irish! In my mind, I think I can see Weed and Kazurinsky selling this to a producer saying, "Think of Terms of Endearment crossed with Local Hero, then salted with two shakes of Flirting With Disaster, finished off with a dollop of Lorenzo's Oil."

But, the acting is so good, the people so genuine and interesting, and the screenplay so full of disarmingly dry wit and wry observations, accented by some clever background inclusions by Director Weed, that it all works wonderfully. Reiser's love interest is his sister-in-law, but in this context, we're okay with that. Amy Robbins, who plays Maureen, comes across as a terrific actress in her own right -- and somehow gets away with making no bones about the fact that although her human-being chemistry with Reiser is adorable and their sex is great, inside her true self she knows that it still pales against the latent-yet-ubiquitous animal chemistry she feels for her hunky-but-no-good ex, roguishly played by Ian Hyphenated-Name. The heavyset Brian Daughty also scores well as feckless brother Frank. Olympia Dukakis and George Wendt are ideally cast in their minor roles as Reiser's adopted mother and brother.

In short, if you can stand a bit of TV-movie-type production values and obvious cuts for commercials, and you have some tolerance for a dollop of treacle, catch this one on Showtime if you can.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant mix of Yank and Scouse!

10/10
Author: DianeHenderson (dianewoodbridge@hotmail.com) from Boston, USA
9 May 2003

Iwas born and bred in Liverpool,and now live in the USA,so completely understand the mix of these 2 cultures portrayed in this movie and loved it! Julie Walters is her brilliant self, Amy Robbins(any relation to Kate or Ted Robbins?) is so believable as Maureen and Paul Reiser is 'Lovely'. Landmarks of Liverpool made me feel homesick especially when the Women's Hospital was mentioned 'cos I used to be a Sister on Rankin Ward there. Thank you cast and crew, this is now one of my most favourite Movies. Diane Henderson(Woodbridge).

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A man discovers the world and himself just in time

10/10
Author: stephenhr from United States
28 March 2003

See this beautiful, loving drama. Every character a gem. A super script. Rich and excellent acting. Laugh, love, cry. This is what it's all about. Movies can enlighten us and release us. Sometimes they actually do.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

This movie has everything

10/10
Author: Bill Russell from Miami, FL
8 December 2002

This has everything. I mean EVERYTHING. A very good plot and storyline with a major, unforeseen twist, excellent acting, huge emotional attachment, a really fun and witty dialogue, educational, with excellent acting, good DP work with a backdrop of Liverpool and NYC, decent music and sound engineering. I LOVED this movie.

But for some reason, probably at the agreement of Granada (UK) and Showtime (US) it was never really pushed as a theatrical release (most likely poor marketing and publicity). The credits are done very cheaply and this suggests Showtime and Granada either a) ran out of money or b) didn't believe in it. Either way, a major shame.

This is a gem!

Just watch it and let yourself be emotionally moved in all directions.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Touching yet not soppy, a drama with some British grit

9/10
Author: pippa_bennett (pippa.bennett@gmail.com) from Monmouth, UK
19 August 2004

This film was shown on TV here and repeated once - i am waiting very impatiently for it to be released on to DVD - despite my nation's beloved actress, Julie Walters winning a bafta for her performance, it's yet to be released - mainly because it sadly came and went without much fuss being made about it.

I have adored Julie Walters from the first time i saw 'education Rita' and feel her presence and northern nonsense persona was a wonderful dynamic next to Paul reiser and their on screen relationship was so moving.

I usually don't enjoy these 'pushing emotional buttons' dramas - to me the words cancer, bone marrow, long lost family, when put together with film spell disaster, but this was something different. British films being known for their 'realness', made this feel like a personal, private film, only you were being allowed to see the painful process this family goes through when Paul reiser comes searching for his birth mother as a last chance to get bone marrow.

I will say no more, other than watch it.... and please can it be released on DVD???

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The best movie

10/10
Author: ksutton78 from New Zealand
27 August 2005

This is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen and I only saw it by accident. It was on TV in New Zealand and had a poor review so I only intended seeing the first 5 minutes... thank goodness I didn't switch off. Maybe you have to know Liverpool and scouses well to understand this movie but the acting, storyline, characters and dialogue are fantastic. Fortunately the movie does not dwell on the sadder aspects of the storyline but focuses on the Liverpudlian characters, their attitude to life and scouse humour. Julie Walter's deserves every award possible for her role but it seems has missed out. A great movie - don't miss.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, touching film.

Author: darklord38 from Cleveland, OH, USA
25 January 2004

I just watched this movie, and thought that it was great. I can totally relate to this story because I am adopted, and have found my birth family. They did a wonderful job with this movie, from character development, to just a great cast.

I don't understand how one of the commenters here said that they didn't really like it because it wasn't the kind of movie they wanted to see. I wouldn't watch Mission Impossible 2 and complain because there were no zombies in it.

If you watch this movie, expect to have no expectations. It's like nothing that you've ever seen before ( at least I haven't ). They took the very risky subject of adoption, and made a brilliant movie. I give it 10 out of 10.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Strange Relations" ( the cable version of this movie)

Author: sschwart from Deep in the Heart of Texas
28 September 2003

The cable version of this dramedy ( drama/comedy) is "Strange Relations" but they could have called it "Strange Bedfellows."

It's such a quirky, unique piece of work. It defies much description, and the plot summaries above tell the tale.

The acting is surprising good.

For once, Paul Reiser is not exactly playing Paul Reiser.

Julie Walters is phenomenal, as always.

Ann Robbins (a cousin of Paul McCartney, and sister to Brit actress Kate Robbins) is excellent, and some might remember her from "Casualty".

The setting is primarily Liverpool, and it's both an unflinching and romantic view of the city, in my humble opinion.

All in all, this is worth 2 hours of your time, and if you spend 120 minutes with it on cable - it won't be time wasted.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sentimental ? Yes Heart Warming ? Yes Engaging ? Yes Well-acted ? Yes

10/10
Author: glennandrews from Sweden
19 March 2006

Always a pleasure to enjoy the talent of Julie Walters, here she is supported by an exceptionally gifted cast. Starting and ending in the luxury of New York, the main story in the film takes place in the slums of Liverpool with any number of quite believable scenes. The supporting cast may be drawn with a rather thick felt pen but add enormous colour to the general atmosphere. This is a film which will obviously mean more to, and be enjoyed more by English audiences. So much of the dialogue and so many remarks are probably incomprehensible to other nationalities and that includes Americans. This is a film to be enjoyed for all its good points and not to be criticized for all its weaknessess. The right type of viewer will find themselves wondering if they are crying from laughter or pure sentiment. A brilliant performance by Julie Walters

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

strange relations aka my beautiful son

9/10
Author: vickywil5 from United Kingdom
13 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i thought that this film was excellent, strange relations aka my beautiful son. i first watched this as my beautiful son on TV by accident and tried months to get it under this title till i found out it was aka Sr, i thought the film was great, it was really funny in bits whilst sad when Gerry(reiser)who has leukaemia had to go into hospital with his "mom"(walters) for bone marrow transplant,it would of been better though if we would of found out the outcome of the film,(did he die or what). i always try to watch films set in Liverpool as i am a scouser, and i try and see places that i know, so it was wonderful to see that in the scene where Gerry is in the park with his nephew and niece that that is the very park i take my children to play at it is on everton road. It was also good seeing the liver birds and she is right i wonder why we aren't named 'liver'pool like as in liver birds or why aren't they called the liverbirds. there was some great acting, i have now got this film on DVD and watch it virtually every week, i would definitely give this movie 9 out of 10. it was worth the money

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