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Marcia Gay Harden,
"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." Based on Anne Tyler's novel, the movie centers on Rebecca Davitch, a 53-year-old single mother and grandmother, and the cast of her colorful family around her. Written by
Rebecca got married to Joe when he already had three children, who didn't accept her (and still don't). Then they had a daughter together, but Joe died after only a few years and Rebecca had the entire responsibility for four girls. Not to mention Joe's Uncle Poppy. As the movie begins, she is a veteran at running the family business, planning parties. Other family members have related jobs--one daughter is a florist, and another is a caterer. All the girls have silly nicknames but not all are explained, or at least I didn't catch the explanation. Minerva, for example, looked Chinese, like a 'Min Foo', to her father when she was born. And one of the rebellious daughters, at a young age, yelled, 'No! No!' This must have been Nono.
While talking to her mother, Rebecca is reminded of Will, a former boyfriend, and she later contacts him after she discovers he is head of the physics department at the college he graduated from.
I didn't really care for any of the daughters or stepdaughters, but I felt Danner carried the movie as the charming and patient Rebecca, and Palance did a great job as well as the goofy 99-year-old uncle who was fussy and had trouble remembering. Faye Dunaway was good as the girls' self-centered appearance-conscious mother Tina, who came back for Nono's wedding but usually stayed out of their lives. The flashbacks to Rebecca's earlier life were helpful.
Peter Fonda is turning into his father. I say that never having seen Henry in anything where he wasn't old. His character was not that appealing to me, but maybe that's what he was going for. He just seemed tired of life and frustrated, though he tried to be polite to Rebecca.
The meeting between Rebecca and Will's daughter Beatrice was ... interesting.
Regardless of how I felt about most of the characters, I found this to be a charming story.
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