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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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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

I agree with the nay-sayers
31 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I wish I could change my star-rating to 4.

I agree: All this praise of Wagner's film seems unwarranted. I was rather disappointed with it. My husband and I had the same reaction, immediately after viewing it: It seems to need more art, more fiction. It is indeed strange that somehow the daughters (apparently professional actresses) seem more "real" than their parents... or is it? Yes, I can hear the filmmaker and his fans saying that's just because this post-modern culture has conditioned us to see the fake as real, and vice-versa. But no matter; I found myself rather appalled and disgusted, during much of the film, and barely engaged.

There's a whole lotta pathos going on, that's for sure. I wonder about the "comedy" label.

I suppose the ending is supposed to be some kind of zen/enlightenment thing, but in my opinion it just fell flat. (I'm not sure if that qualifies as a spoiler, but I just wanted to play it safe.)

24 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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