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The Talent Given Us (2004)

A retired New York City couple drive across country to reconnect with their reclusive son, joined by their two unmarried daughters.



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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Allen Wagner ...
Judy Wagner ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Insomnia Cafe Friend (as Rob Adetuyi)
Disgruntled Actor
Tony Pepe ...
Meditation Teacher


Judy and Allen are 70 years old, retired now, and at that point in their unremarkable marriage and lives that the farthest the day calls them from the crossword puzzle is to the Fairway supermarket. On one such excursion they run into two of their son Andrew's teachers from high school who want Andrew to return to New York to teach at his alma mater. Judy promises to pass the offer along, concealing the disappointment that she rarely speaks to her son. In the day that follows she spirals into a regret which ends in her epiphany to remedy her relationship with him. Immediately. And face-to-face. But since she's terrified of flying they must drive. Across the country to Los Angeles. Along for what began as a casual drive to the beach, Judy and Allen's two unmarried, thirty-something daughters, Emily and Maggie, find themselves roped into this odyssey. Even though Allen doesn't tear up the road, all the family and marital dirt is dug up. Written by Andrew Wagner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A character driven comedy


Comedy | Drama



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Release Date:

11 June 2004 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

The blunt truth and nothing but the truth - for the most part anyway
5 August 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This film made me care for the characters right from the start. It has a healthy dose of reality, in places perhaps too stark for some in the audience. It gives some interesting insights into aging, whether it is the parents in their 70s or the daughter and her friend (?) in their 30s. Despite each of the parents aging differently and the wife being discontented with her husband, their love for each other comes through. The ups and downs of their relationship are only too real. The daughter's insecurities about her body image (and desire to go under the knife) faithfully reflects the way many young women feel and think. For those who think that the film doesn't really amount to anything and was not worth their while don't want this kind of reality. Because the characters are playing themselves with all their flaws and somewhat fractured lives. Many viewers want to get away from it all, for them this movie likely has little to offer. As for the comments made by arassweiler on this film, I don't buy into his/her assumption (or accusation) that most of the reviews here are done by "shills" who are likely friends of the film maker and have padded up IMDb reviews simply because they want the film to succeed. Neither do I get the thing about using parents to deflect real criticism. That is about the most meaningless comment anyone could have made about this film. It is definitely worth seeing. But if you are into a lot of Hollywood's over-produced or even well made celebrity/star laden films then this film is certainly not for you. The film is funny at times, and at times has an underlying tragic tenor. But it is a film where characters are human enough to confront their demons and limitations, overcoming some and failing at some. And I was definitely entertained by the film.

Barring my cautions for certain types of film-goers whom I described above I think this film is pretty much "must-see". Especially if you are not put off by too much reality depicting characters who are imperfect in every way, but are perfectly human.

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