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Marvin's Room (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama | 28 February 1997 (USA)
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2:23 | Trailer
After 20 years caring for her father, a woman with cancer now must re-connect with her trashy sister and nephews she's never met after being diagnosed. Her love helps the angry teen nephew, and her sister learns to relate to people.

Director:

Jerry Zaks

Writers:

Scott McPherson (play), Scott McPherson (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Lee
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Hank
Diane Keaton ... Bessie
Robert De Niro ... Dr. Wally
Hume Cronyn ... Marvin
Gwen Verdon ... Ruth
Hal Scardino ... Charlie
Dan Hedaya ... Bob
Margo Martindale ... Dr. Charlotte
Cynthia Nixon ... Retirement Home Director
Kelly Ripa ... Coral
John Callahan ... Lance
Olga Merediz ... Beauty Shop Lady
Joe Lisi ... Bruno
Steve DuMouchel ... Gas Station Guy (as Steve Dumouchel)
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Storyline

Estranged since their father's first stroke some 17 years earlier, Lee and Bessie lead separate lives in separate states. Lee's son, Hank, finds himself committed to a mental institution after setting fire to his mother's house. His younger brother, Charlie, seems unfazed by his brother's eccentricities or his mother's seeming disinterest. When Lee comes to the asylum to spring Hank for a week in Florida so that he can be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Bessie, Hank is incredulous. "I didn't even know you had a sister," he says. "Remember, every Christmas, when I used to say 'Well, looks like Aunt Bessie didn't send us a card again this year?'" "Oh yeah," Hank says. Meanwhile, Marvin, the two women's bedridden father, has "been dying for the past twenty years." "He's doing it real slow so I don't miss anything," Bessie tells Dr. Wally. In Bessie's regular doctor's absence, it has fallen to Dr. Wally to inform Bessie that she has leukemia and will die without a bone marrow ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story about the years that keep us apart... And the moments that bring us together. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marvin's Room See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,739, 22 December 1996

Gross USA:

$12,803,305

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,803,305
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diane Keaton was nominated for an Oscar and for the SAG award. Meryl Streep was nominated for a Golden Globe award. Gwen Verdon was nominated for a SAG award. See more »

Goofs

The position of Hank's arm with potato chip changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bessie: Uh, Janine, I wonder if you could tell me how long I might have to wait, because I left Aunt Ruth at home in charge of dad, and...
Janine: You'll have to see Doctor Wally, because Doctor Serrot is on vacation.
[finishes typing "I quit" letter]
Bessie: See "Doctor who"?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank ... the staff and guests of Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida, ... the residents and staff of The Florida Manor Nursing Home ... See more »

Connections

References Alice in Wonderland (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

My Purity
Written by Mark Dombrowski and Mike Cross
Published by EMI Virgin Songs, Inc./It Made a Sound Music (BMI)
Performed by Sponge
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

It's Never Too Late To Mend Broken Relationships Until You're Gone
21 March 2012 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

Scott McPherson adapts a beautiful screenplay from his own play. 'Marvin's Room' could have easily been just another one of those sentimental disease-of-the-weak type TV films but McPherson stays true to the story injecting it with a delightful dose of humour. The film focuses on broken relationships and how it's never too late to take the step to mend them until you're gone. The execution is simple and that works very well. The score is in sync with the flow. The writing is beautiful. The dialogues are cleverly written.

Diane Keaton is marvelous in a role that could have easily turned out to be a cliché if it were played by a lesser actress. She plays her part naturally with a quiet and yet layered restraint. Meryl Streep does a fine job as the slightly more rebellious and estranged sister who had escaped from having to take care of her father and is proud of her diploma. Leonardo Dicaprio isn't bad either. Robert De Niro is great in a more laidback role. He also reveals a flare for comedy. His scenes with a splendid Dan Hedaya had me laughing. Gwen Verdon is a delight and she provides excellent comic relief. Hume Cronyn doesn't have a scene out of bed but he definitely makes the viewer take note of his performance.

My favourite scene is towards the end when the two sisters chat in the kitchen. Keaton's Bessie may have been 'consumed' by taking care of her ailing father and aunt, not 'leading' her own life like the typical American woman but the amazing thing is that she doesn't regret it because she is proud that she has given them so much love and that she can do the same now with her sister and nephews. Then there's the ending which is superbly done. You're left wanting to know how these wonderful characters are doing but at the same time one can acknowledge that it's the best way to end.


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