Surrender, Dorothy (TV Movie 2006) Poster

(2006 TV Movie)

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6/10
Any movie that can appropriately and humorously use a Woody Allen reference is alright in my book
Cinesnatch2 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
My mother asked me if I wanted to watch a movie with her while I was visiting. I normally don't watch TV movies. I don't have the patience for them or even most cinematic movies these days, but every now and again, I'll be surprised by what the networks come up with. So, not wanting to disappoint my mother, I acquiesced. Spotting Vilmos Zsigmond's name as the cinematographer during the opening credits made me feel a little more hopeful.

Diane Keaton plays Natalie a mother grieving the loss of her daughter Sara. Sara was spending the Summer with old friends of hers at a New England beach house. Their vacation had just started when she dies in a car accident on the way back from getting ice cream. In order to deal with her death, Natalie ends up taking her daughter's place at the beach house. Initially, it is an awkward situation for everyone on two different levels. On top of dealing with Sara's death, Natalie never really cared for Sara's friends. Dealing with their own grief, the friends still recognize the delicate nature of the situation, knowing Sara was all she had, and humor her desire to be in the environment where her daughter spent the remaining days of her life.

The acting is good. Keaton is, of course the standout. She runs the gamut of emotions without turning herself into a clique, even when the material starts to border on the ridiculous. The scene where she hallucinates the clouds spelling out "Surrender Dorothy" (the "Land of Oz" reference her and Sara greeted each other with) is silly, but Keaton conveys the delirium Natalie feels at thinking she could actually bring her daughter back to life.

At first, I wished that we had gotten to know Sara just a bit more than we did. But, then, I realized that it made sense for us to only get a glimpse of her, because, as with the loss of anyone close to us, we all experience the desire to have just spent a little bit more time with them and/or gotten to know them just a little bit more. One of the things that I liked about this movie is that a lot of the way it took shape was very deliberate and effective. Another example would be a scene early on, before her death, when they are sitting outside, talking, drinking and having a good time. The camera kept going around in circles. I rolled my eyes thinking it was pretentious and then I even started feeling a little nauseous. Afterwards, I realized that its hyperkineticness served the story. They were friends, sitting around catching up with each other at a feverish pace, while inebriated. The memory of that night as their final one together with Sara probably took on a heightened reality after she died.

Because it is a TV movie, I don't judge it too harshly. It is at mercy of much higher censorship standards than a theatrically or video released film. And, I was surprised by some of the content in this CBS-movie-of-the-week. We saw people taking hallucinogenic mushrooms. We saw two young men in a homosexual relationship. We saw a woman in her late 50's in a lead role! None of this was without limits, of course. We saw the young heterosexual couple in bed, as well as them kissing. We saw no such interaction in the homosexual couple. That isn't to say that it should have occurred, only that to me it suggested a double standard. It would have been fine if I didn't see anyone romantically in bed together. But, this is a major network. I give it kudos for the aforementioned risky content it included (even if it was necessary just to tell the story). So, if it has to pay the price by not so subtly (to me, anyway) asserting a conservative bias, so be it. Just don't shoot be for observing it.

For a while, I was hoping the writers were shrewdly implying Natalie was this close-minded Republican, who was, ultimately, teachable. She reminded me so much of Bree Van Kamp from American TV's "Desperate Housewives." She is a very conservative woman who had a very unusual response to grieving the loss of her husband. We never really understood why Natalie wasn't friends with Adam, her daughter's best friend. We know that she didn't invite any of Sara's friends to the funeral, but there was specific discussion of her disdain towards Adam. We also know, towards the end of the film that she blamed him from keeping her daughter from moving on with a straight man. However, through most of the movie, I was thinking she was homophobic, but the writers didn't just come right out with it. But, then, she didn't judge Adam's boyfriend on the merit's of his gay relationship with Adam, especially considering his philandering ways. I was also trying to insinuate an antiabortion stance from the reaction she had when she found out about Sara's pregnancy. But, it could pain any mother in her position, whether pro-Choice or antiabortion, who found that her recently deceased daughter had given up an opportunity to give birth and, therefore, had given up a chance to leave a part of her behind. Oh, well, there goes that theory.

My favorite line involved Natalie reading Adam's latest play. She alluded to his previous work being a really good comedy (which begged the question of how she could go on not liking him, yet interested in what he had to write) and sensed that she was now dealing with a really uninteresting drama. She then insisted that he cannot go all Woody Allen on her "like when he made'Interiors.'" Any movie that can appropriately and humorously use a Woody Allen reference (delivered by one of his former muses no less) is alright in my book. Too bad my mother was asleep at that point to enjoy it!
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1/10
Made me so angry I had to write a review
layersofsediment5 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Diane Keaton reminds me of an annoying girlfriend I had long ago. I could not stand the girl (unfortunately, she was physically too pervertedly perfect for me to dump her; eventually she caught onto the fact that I stayed with her only for the sex and she dumped me.)

Unfortunately, Diane Keaton shares my old girlfriend's personality, and none of her physical properties.

When the guy calls her while she's driving, she acts like a giddy farm animal. Incredibly annoying woman.

Then he tells her to pull over, that there's been an accident, so she yells at him to just tell her what happened.

I sat here thinking to myself, "Let me guess. He tells her that her daughter's dead, and she crashes the car."

Incredibly, when he tells her, she dramatically raises her hands from the steering wheel and - yes, Virginia, there are amazingly bad movies made - she crashes the car.

It's like some horrid Lifetime movie. Such bad acting, such predictable plot, so unbelievably unwatchable that you turn it off in a fuming rage, long before it's over.

Or, in this case, only shortly after it even began.
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10/10
It sticks with you...
scbc224 January 2006
I waited for this movie to come out for a while in Canada, and when it finally did, I was very excited to see it. I really enjoyed it. Of course, in the beginning, it is a very sad movie (and it was New Years Day - making it even sadder) - however, it sticks with you. The next day I was thinking about it again, because although it revolves around something so emotionally draining, you realize after a few days that it is such a beautiful story. How one person can be seen as the link to so many people, but sometimes you can be blinded so many things. And how Diane Keaton's character kind of saves the rest of them by just being there. And how they save her in the process as well. It was such an excellent movie, and Chris Pine (one of my favourite actors) provides the perfect comic relief. It is definitely a movie that will need a box of tissues, but will really stay with you for a long time.
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2/10
One of the worst movies for TV I have seen in quite awhile
DrBronkhurst2 January 2006
Although the casting for this film was admirable, particularly Dianne Keaton and Tom Everett Scott, the quality of the writing was so poor that it would be impossible for any actor or director to make this film worth watching.

My wife and I decided that the reason we watched the entire film was that it was like a train wreck, and it was almost impossible to turn away. It may have been that we "hoped" that the message would eventually make itself apparent, and that we would be able to glean some meaning from this effort. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

Of course the audience may have been able to "make sense" of this convoluted tale, a credit to the ingenuity of the human brain to make sense of the absurd. The writers, however, did NOTHING to facilitate this innate need we seem to have for finding meaning.

It was apparent that those involved were simply going through the motions of their respective crafts, and that any intrinsic passion for the characters or the story was either secondary or non-existent.

Unfortunately, made-for-TV movies have seemed to devolve over the years. Whereas communicating a message to the audience may to have been the primary interest of the writers in the past, present-day writers and producers seem condescending to their audience, concentrating primarily on manipulating us to "stay-tuned" through the incessant advertising which seems to be the only reason movies such as Surrender, Dorothy are made.
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7/10
Recollections of Oz
gradyharp28 May 2006
Charles McDougall's resume includes directing episodes on 'Sex and the City', 'Desperate Housewives', Queer as Folk', 'Big Love', 'The Office', etc. so he comes with all the credentials to make the TV film version of Meg Wolitzer's novel SURRENDER, DOROTHY a success. And for the most part he manages to keep this potentially sappy story about sudden death of a loved one and than manner in which the people in her life react afloat.

Sara (Alexa Davalos) a beautiful unmarried young woman is accompanying her best friends - gay playwright Adam (Tom Everett Scott), Adam's current squeeze Shawn (Chris Pine), and married couple Maddy (Lauren German) and Peter (Josh Hopkins) with their infant son - to a house in the Hamptons for a summer vacation. The group seems jolly until a trip to the local ice creamery by Adam and Sara) results in an auto accident which kills Sara. Meanwhile Sara's mother Natalie Swedlow (Diane Keaton) who has an active social life but intrusively calls here daughter constantly with the mutual greeting 'Surrender, Dorothy', is playing it up elsewhere: when she receives the phone call that Sara is dead she immediately comes to the Hamptons where her overbearing personality and grief create friction among Sara's friends. Slowly but surely Natalie uncovers secrets about each of them, thriving on talking about Sara as though doing so would bring her to life. Natalie's thirst for truth at any cost results in major changes among the group and it is only through the binding love of the departed Sara that they all eventually come together.

Diane Keaton is at her best in these roles that walk the thread between drama and comedy and her presence holds the story together. The screenplay has its moments for good lines, but it also has a lot of filler that becomes a bit heavy and morose making the actors obviously uncomfortable with the lines they are given. Yes, this story has been told many times - the impact of sudden death on the lives of those whose privacy is altered by disclosures - but the film moves along with a cast pace and has enough genuine entertainment to make it worth watching. Grady Harp
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9/10
I enjoyed it.
brelsa8 January 2006
The movie held my interest, mainly because Dianne Keaton is my favorite actress. I disagree with some of the other posts on the grounds that the plot was not convoluted. I had no trouble following it (maybe some people had too much eggnog the night before). The movie was very sad and touching as well. What more do you want? Alexa Davalos is a fine new talent (beautiful too), and Tom Everett Scott does an excellent job with his part as well. The relationship of the mother and daughter may have been a bit unrealistic, but the behavior of the young people in the movie was not. It was tragically sad but enlightening. It sure beat the other shows that were on TV New Years Day evening
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8/10
thought provoking film
soapsudser3 January 2006
I very much enjoyed watching this film. I taped it while watching so that i could review it later. I actually enjoyed the second viewing more since i was able to absorb more of the clever dialog between Natalie and Adam, the 2 main characters. I thought the way this story evolved was very thought provoking. I got very intrigued with how Natalie was going to interact with her daughter's friends , at first it seemed that she was going to spew a lot of animosity but once she started interacting more pleasantly i had to see how this visit was going to unfold. i wasn't disappointed . Gradually the secrets that Sara kept from her mother started to reveal a daughter who was not so perfect, a flawed human being like most of us who wanted her freedom from a domineering mother who thought she knew her daughter but unfortunately had to learn in a very painful manner that sometimes to really love someone you have to give them their freedom. The viewers who stuck with this film to the end saw a very touching performance from Diane Keaton (who is always wonderful, even in some of her less well received films-think Town and Country). The closing scene of Diane Keaton driving home was well worth waiting for, revealing that anyone who loves another human being has got to learn that we have to live our own lives, we love others but don't own them and ultimately we have to let go. It's a hard lesson but well worth contemplating now and then.Thank you CBS for this broadcast,it was worth the long wait.
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Let's send Tom Everett Scott off to the old College of Osculation...........
arizona-philm-phan28 July 2006
A number of earlier reviewers have done a good job of "synop-sizing" this film's plot. But, notably, not many have devoted much time to performances (other than several who've dedicated much of their comments to the famous Diane Keaton and her characterization). At any rate, please let me jump in here.

Depth of performance is not this film's strong point. Keaton's work here is kind of "slide by"........just not her best. There's a noticeable tendency to act out in an over-the-top manner---though she's usually able to pull it back in before things get too messy.

Career-wise, Josh Hopkins and Scott, both the same age, share about the same number of filmed performances, with Scott holding an edge in movie productions, as opposed to TV works. These are definitely the male leads of this production, but it is Hopkins, as Peter, who becomes head and shoulders the standout. He is quite, quite good, and it has to be asked why he's not further up the scale of stardom at this point (lack of good agency representation, perhaps). And if there's a breath of fresh air in all this, it's Chris Pine's performance of a ebullient Shawn. He's a cutie, a sweetie, and he shines. Nothing keeps his character down.

Playing a gay character (Adam), Scott is perhaps surprisingly at nowhere near the performance level of those already mentioned. His past work experience would lead one to expect otherwise, but, sadly, that is not the case. When Peter calls Adam a "Little Bitch" at one point in the film, he comes very close to describing what is my take on Scott's performance: someone whose characterization is "diva-ish"---which I believe to be really over the top, as opposed to the way this part should be played. More, when he's not doing that, his delivery just seems flat (see Tom run, see Tom run after Spot). So, for anyone reading this who might have something to do with assisting Scott in selecting future roles, please have him refrain from those involving a gay character. I just don't see that he has it in him; his one gay interaction with another player, a kiss with Shawn, is a disaster (it shouldn't be like giving your grandmother a peck; can't you do better than to give us a lips-glued-shut kiss?). Why take on any role like this if you can't throw yourself into it?

This production, in my opinion, is not one worth the expense of adding to your DVD collection.

****
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7/10
This movie doesn't get enough credit
KarlCrys4Ophelia2 January 2006
I completely disagree with the other comments posted on this movie. For instance, the movie is based on the book and if the writer had a gay character in it then how could "Hollywood" just throw in a token gay character in the movie. And besides there was two gay characters and I thought they reflected each other great. One was normal and the other was more feminine but it wasn't over the top. And Diane Keaton gave a wonderful performance and if the other reviewer had the decency to actual watch the entire film they would have seen that her character developed through out the film by interacting with the other characters. For instance when she and Adam went to look at the car that Sara crashed in the junkyard you could see the maternal side of her come out and later in the film you saw that she too was invincible. But I guess if you're too worried about gay characters and characters that are flawed then this movie is bad. But if you're more open-minded and I don't know actually have some inkling of what is good then you'll enjoy this film.
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1/10
Unsympathetic means uninteresting.
kayanders2 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
(Very light spoilers, maybe.)

Normally a fan of Diane Keaton, I tried to watch this tonight. I had to switch it off before the second hour because I found myself with absolutely no sympathy for daughter or mother. Both came across as self-absorbed with little regard for others, with the daughter also adding in rude, disrespectful and reckless to the mix. When the daughter died, the only thing I thought was, "At least we won't have to watch her anymore." Keaton did a good job of moving into her stunned state and into the grieving, but it was too far gone for me by then. I simply wasn't enjoying it, so I stopped watching. If you want me to care for the protagonist, you need to get me caring about the characters much sooner--if it's nearly an hour in and I don't care, it's too late.

The supporting cast was sincere and well played--I felt for *them!*--and the gay best friend was wonderful, but even combined, that wasn't enough to carry the film for me.
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1/10
Singularly awful...
moonspinner552 January 2006
Watching CBS's "Surrender, Dorothy", I kept wondering why Diane Keaton would want to be in it (not because it's a television movie--with the dearth of enticing roles for slightly older actresses, it isn't any wonder why Academy Award winning performers such as Keaton turn to TV--but because it offers no opportunities for Keaton to shine). A single mother, grieving the sudden death of her twenty-something daughter, imposes upon--and gradually becomes friends with--the group of young people her daughter was close to at the time of her accident. Adapted from the novel, this teleplay gives us a group of self-absorbed characters one would cross the street to avoid. Aside from being coarse and dim, these phony people are incredibly unconvincing, as is the tidy scenario and the bungalow near the beach where the kids reside (one young man, who wears muscle shirts to tell us he's gay, hears Diane Keaton say, "Surrender, Dorothy" and actually asks, "That's from "The Wizard of Oz", right?"...no, genius, it's from "Citizen Kane"!). Keaton may have wanted to do this material based on the subject matter of confronting death. She tries turning this distinctly unlikable woman into a shadow of her own personage (lots of kooky outfits), but it doesn't sit well with the viewer since Keaton has always been warmly likable and flexible in a flaky way. Here, she's a crazed harpy who doesn't learn many lessons on her journey of self-discovery (the movie quickly forgets it's about a dead young woman and becomes an odyssey for the nervous wreck of a mom, who appears to be an overage hippie who has never lost anyone close to her). This is the kind of film actors promote on talk shows with the caveat, "It should help a lot of grieving mothers out there". I can't imagine it helping anyone since it is intrinsically a downer, muddled and baffling. It's deranged.
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3/10
Worst Movie Ever!
goldenspke1 January 2006
As I sat subjected to this televised mediocrity, I wondered why? Why did Dianne Keaton agree to this trash? The movie uses meaningless, contrived plot lines to deliver trash to homes of thousands. The movie takes a political agenda to a new level. The movie was meaningless, and all creditability was lost to the excessive use of stereotype.

It was obvious that Keaton tried to make this movie worthwhile, but in the end she needs to remember the age old adage that you cannot polish a turd. I hope that you did not waste your New Year's Day watching another mindless made for TV movie. I now know why the networks started airing series on Sunday night, to rid us of trash!
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1/10
Shockingly BAD!
douggordy2 January 2006
I could not believe how awful this film was; I rarely watch commercial TV, but thought "Well, Diane Keaton is always worth watching". I stand corrected. Everyone involved should be hanging their heads in shame.

I realize there are not a lot of great roles for women of a certain age, but the script to this was so inept, clichéd and baffling that I am surprised it ever got into development or that Ms. Keaton thought she could make a silk purse out of this sow's ear. None of the characters had a shred of believability and were so incredibly unlikeable. The acting looked like exercises in a BEGINNING class - I stared in open-mouthed horror through most of this wondering "What were they thinking?". Very, very sad that it has come to this. Don't waste your time.
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1/10
Total disappointment
hhammon4 January 2006
I waited for this movie to play in great anticipation. Assuming it would be more accurately portrayed like the movie, "The Christmas Box" based on the book by Richard Paul Evans. I sent out many emails to friends and family asking them to please watch this show, hoping they would better understand a tiny amount of my "new" life. After seeing this movie I was so disappointed. As a mother who lost her only child in November 2003 and REALLY knowing the pain, I had hoped that this movie would shed light to parents who "think" they understand the grief a parent goes through who has lost a child. This movie was a very light hearted movie and the silliness of Diane Keaton was a slap in the face to parents who have buried a child. It was VERY unrealistic from start to stop. I had a few calls after the movie, each call the same, "That was so off the mark and made it appear that in a short time you are back on the road and listening to songs on the radio and life is back" What a bunch of bull! It is clear that the director and Keaton have never lost a child because neither would have EVER made the movie to be so off the mark. I guess that's Hollywood.
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3/10
Go, Dottie, Go!
edwagreen2 January 2006
**1/2 for this Diane Keaton farce.

Someone should tell Ms. Keaton, enough with your Annie Hall philosophy and hats.

This flick is just too much as Keaton's daughter, Sara, dies in a traffic accident, while her boyfriend survives.

Keaton, who could not be reached by phone at first, as she was in the sack with her pal and had pulled out the phone plug, grieves in a new way for grievers.

She retreats to the summer locale where all of Sara's friends are staying. She cleans the house, sleeps for two days and then begins to reveal things which were better not to be revealed. It appears that sweet Sara slept with her girlfriend and the guy who ultimately married the latter. In addition, she had an abortion thanks to this guy. We're all now put on this guilt trip.

Her only hope is to find the elusive diary that Sara kept. She also hopes that boyfriend,Adam, who is a playwright, will not include all this in another play.

When the diary is found, it has been written in Japanese. Sara had a Ph.D in this language. It's not that great news for mom when an excerpt of the diary is translated by a Japanese cook in a Japanese restaurant.

Naturally, everything seems to tie up nicely in the end.

The title of this shmaltz comes from The Wizard of Oz. Every time mom and Sara would speak, they would both utter Surrender Dorothy.

As if this isn't enough, during the course of this bizarre extravaganza of mourning, Keaton tells Adam not to be another Woody Allen in his film, Interiors, where he tried to successfully emulate Ingmar Bergman. Ms. Keaton also tries drugs with the group. Come on, folks, can we realistically believe that anyone in his right mind could mourn like this?

Fair to mediocre best sums up this film.
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5/10
Cliché city
Paul Evans (pauleky)1 January 2006
A good, not great, Diane Keaton performance is pretty much the only reason to see this clichéd movie-of-the-week and the only reason it gets my rating. Would it be possible to have a TV film where zero gay characters dress in drag or are screaming queens? Would it be possible that no more characters hear something scandalous over a baby monitor? Can we get a movie with people most of us can relate to, instead of the usual East Coast elite (hey, I'm liberal, but c'mon - it's been done as recently as Keaton's own "Something's Gotta Give"!) Keaton is, as usual, worth sitting through this, but I just felt like I'd seen it all before.
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3/10
So bad that it becomes funny.
jon15 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is hilarious. The insane dialogue turns the story of a grieving mother into a good comedy. Even though it looks like it was shot in 1998, the production value is pretty good for a TV movie. But that doesn't save this wounded animal. Right from the start realism goes out the window, never to be seen again. Therefore nothing feels natural, plus the acting seems odd and misplaced in most scenes.

The main players aren't sympathetic at all, even though they are intended to be. And Diane Keaton's character is supposed to be this empowering, fun-loving and cool baby boomer but she's just a hateable, annoying mess instead. People who have a good taste in movies need to watch "Surrender, Dorothy" just to push the reset button, cleanse the palate. This way you can appreciate the good films you watch.
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the taste
Kirpianuscus16 April 2016
like food, few films are the expressions of taste. Surrender, Dorothy is one. not the script, not the acting, not the moral lesson are important in its case. only the final taste.like a lemon with sugar. a tragedy. a mother. few couples. and the meaning of life. nothing new. but useful for the rediscover of old themes, for Diane Keaton, for the fragility of truth and for not bad cast looking save a story who is not real convincing. a film about miracles. like many others. not bad, not good. only decent. with a huge potential, using ordinary way, proposing a drama who is far to be touching but seems be a nice summer story with few interesting scenes, good actors and high expectations. a film about an event who change lives. and who gives few directions for the imagination of viewer.
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5/10
Good cast, mediocre movie
juneebuggy16 March 2015
This was okay. Good cast and interesting "slice of life" storyline however the movie itself was kinda all over the place. Diane Keaton plays her usual loopy self which I generally like but not in a role that requires her to be grieving over the death of her daughter. She was still all bubbly and silly which just didn't work here.

Anyways, she plays Natalie, who had always thought she had a close relationship with her daughter. However when she is killed Natalie becomes determined to find out exactly who her daughter really was, by spending the summer with her friends.

It was super fun to see Chris Pine in an early role here playing a gay man and Josh Hopkins from Cougar Town was good too. Then there was the bearded lady; who may have just put me off soft serve ice cream forever! 05.11
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9/10
A great movie
Rickee1 January 2006
This was a great movie with a good cast, all of them hitting on all cylinders. And when Dianne Keaton is at her best, well, it just doesn't get any better than that. But Tom Everett Scott, always underrated, was even better. He should be a star.

My only complaint is with one aspect of the screenplay. None of the characters ever acknowledged that the dead daughter wasn't always a good person. And neither was her mother, played by Keaton. At one point she breaks a promise she made to one character not to reveal that he had been sleeping around.

One of the other commentators said the movie had a "political agenda". That is a baffling thing to say. There was no politics at all in this movie.
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2/10
Boring
brocious2 January 2006
My wife and I started to watch this movie with anticipation. It looked warm and touching. It started out well; but, soon became boring and frankly idiotic after a while. It got so bad that we turned it off The movie was poorly acted and honesty, we couldn't really understand or wanted to understand what exactly why or how the hell they could put up with this woman! You lost sympathy for her after she was rude and acting wackos singing and cleaning. I would have had her committed. And, of course, like most movies and T.V series made in Hollywood we have to throw it a token "gay" character! This movie was boring. I was expecting more from Diane Keaton!
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4/10
wasn't disappointed because i didn't expect anything
hamoo5 July 2011
hands down, one of the worse movies i've ever watched. the plot was abysmal. do people really act like this in real life ? it's one of the "please shoot me and put me out of my misery" movies. is there any reason i didn't turn it off and give up on it ? why did i watch it to the end ? i wasn't curious. i had no empathy at all. it made me feel that maybe this world would be a lot better off if all the sarahs died in a car crash. and their mothers too. maybe i had to watch it so when i saw a really good movie, i'd appreciate it. this movie is the touchstone of all Hollywood chick flick template detritus. should have invested this time in a video game.
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3/10
A Wreck
filmchaser4 May 2013
Who eats ice cream out of a cup with spoon while driving a car, having a conversation, and feeding ice cream to the other passenger? Why not close your eyes and take your hands off the wheel like Diane Keaton chose to do after she learned her only child DIED IN A CAR WRECK? This kind of bad writing insults the audience. Then, the actors, who are supposed to be the deceased Sarah's best friends, continue on with their vacation and the deceased girl's grieving mother joins them so she can get closer to Sarah's private life while she grieves the loss of her only child. Who does that? Before the diary was ever read, I knew it contained the poor dead girl's burdens of feeling like she had to be her mother's universe. And what was the deal with that hideous growth on that poor waitress' chin? What was the point to that? Was there some symbolism there besides she must not have a best friend because if she did, her best friend would tell her to shave her beard? This, coming from a girl who clearly would rather spend all her time with a homosexual man than take a risk of developing a relationship with a man who is not the husband of her best friend. Who is the best friend that tells you she's sleeping with your husband? I had a hard time liking Sarah after that. The plot gets more annoying as it becomes obvious that the deceased girl's mother not only tried to control every minute of her only daughter's life, but also had to invade her private relationships with her friends after she was dead, as if Sarah is her possession, or as if she is still a small child and has no rights to privacy as an adult. And can Diane Keaton over-act or what? This is really a story about how suffocating a mother's love can be even with the purest of intentions, especially for an only child. I found myself watching the clock to see when this nerve wracking mess of a movie would end.
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1/10
So bad it's funny
easyease7212 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Really bad movie, all this film does is promote the idea that women shouldn't drive cars. I'm not sure who this movie is aimed at, as it is an insult to anyone's intelligence. I lost the will to live shortly after the mother crashed her car. I was hoping it would spiral into a weird comedy in which a whole series of people crash there cars and die on hearing that someone else has died in a crash. Bump the whole stinking cast off a la "final destination".

Sadly most of the cast survive in this stinker of a straight to TV movie. If you find yourself watching this for longer than 20 minutes I advise you to see a doctor and ask for some anti-depressants, because your life must really be at a low ebb.
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10/10
Diane Keaton was Fantastic
whpratt13 January 2006
Diane Keaton gave an outstanding performance in this rather sad but funny story which involved quite a few young people and their deep dark secrets. Diane Keaton,(Natalie),"The Family Stone",'05, who had an only daughter and loved her beyond words can describe. She always called her and told her, "Surrender Dorothy", which was an expression used in the 'Wizard of Oz',1939. A sudden car accident occurs and Natalie gets herself deeply involved with her daughter's friends and lovers. As Natalie investigates, the more truths she finds out about herself and her real relationship with her daughter. Great film to view and enjoy, especially all the good acting from all the supporting actors.
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