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The Talent Given Us (2004)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  11 June 2004 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 427 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 15 user | 17 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

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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Cast

Credited cast:
Allen Wagner ...
Allen
Judy Wagner ...
Judy
...
Emily
...
Maggie
...
Bumby
...
Billy
...
Andrew
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Insomnia Cafe Friend (as Rob Adetuyi)
...
Disgruntled Actor
Tony Pepe ...
Doorman
...
Healer
...
Meditation Teacher
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Storyline

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

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A character driven comedy

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Comedy | Drama

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11 June 2004 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
An easy look at hard truths
16 January 2007 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Most films have protagonists between the ages of 25 and 45. In childhood and adolescence, one identifies with them as grownups. As the years pass, the view becomes as contemporaries. I've only gotten as far as late middle age, but at this point, while I can be lulled into a sort of suspension of disbelief and view characters 15 years my junior at eye level, more and more, I identify with their parents. This is abetted as the boomer generation ages, and many people now long in the tooth formed their adult identities during and after the values shift of the 1960's.

That said, when you look at the Wagners' relationship from the vantage point of a certain age, one can understand why two people bonded by parenthood and hard experience through the years might persist in a union where romantic love is a distant memory. Familiarity, trust, recollection of how much worse other potential mates were during one's dating years, and fear of going it alone make their presence felt. In your 50's or your 70's, one wonders "Who would want me now?"

For most of us, this is as happy an ending as we're going to get, like it or not. There comes a time when one is too tired, too sick, and/or too set in one's ways to start over yet again. Successfully rearing a child has its rewards, and as libido wanes, sometimes that's enough. One's acrimonious relationship with one's mate can be a shelter without alternative.

This film takes an unflinching look at these realities...what is, as opposed as to what "should be," to borrow a distinction often made by Lenny Bruce. Acceptance is the last of the seven stages of grief. Or to quote an old Country/Western song title, "It's not love...but it's not bad."


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