The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.
Steve Martin gives a tremendous performance as a father, who wants to be everything that he feels his father wasn't: loving, caring, and involved in his children's lives in a positive manner. He is torn between his duties as a provider and the need to be there for his children. Mary Steenburgen is wonderful, as always, as a devoted wife and mother. She tries to keep her family on an even keel and to soothe their anxieties, her husband included. She conveys so much with just body language and has a smile that seems to come from her soul. Jason Robards is his usual powerful self, as the patriarch who made himself a success, but at the expense of his family. He recognizes his mistakes and finds a chance to make some amends in his twilight years.
Diana Weist is the single mother, trying to provide for her troubled children, and find some life for herself. She wants to give her kids what they want, but is torn between giving to them and watching them make mistakes. Rick Moranis is the parent who wants their child to succeed, to the point of smothering their childhood. He wants the best for his child, but fails to see that childhood should be as much about play and new experiences, as it is about education. His wife wants the same, but wants their daughter to be a little girl, too. She also wants another child, but feels that she is alone in this area and is losing her husband. Tom Hulce is the irresponsible, youngest sibling, who has run off whenever things have become too tough. Things get tough when you are a parent, and he stays true to form.
The young actors are all tremendously talented and the little ones are quite cute. It is no surprise that these performances are so good, given that the director was a child actor himself. Ron Howard really knows how to bring the best out of young actors, as well as their adult counterparts.
There is so much to savor in this film. There are great laughs and touching moments. There is drama and satire. There is the joy of watching great character actors display their craft. There are the clearly defied roles, with great complexity, that are easy to identify with.
This is a film that all parents should see. Kids should see this, when they are old enough to understand the sacrifices that their parents make for them and why they make the decisions that they do. Parenting: it's the toughest job you'll ever love!
- Apr 20, 2003