The Twilight of the Golds (1996) Poster

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frank566 August 2003
I've seen so many negative comments about this film, and I have none...I thought the acting, subject matter and direction was straightforward and thought provoking. The film's matter-of-fact tone about the possibility of determining orientation force the viewer to deal with the issues presented here, making the discussion intense. Performances all good here, and we're reminded of the acting power of both Brendan Fraser and Jennifer Beals, who thoroughly impressed me here, not to mention the film's biggest surprise, Garry Marshall, who turns in a really solid performance as their father. Seek this out and enjoy an intelligent, well done film.
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Thought provoking
agategecko30 October 2004
I saw this film by accident on the TV one day.

It really started me thinking, in this day of gene mapping and in-utero genetic testing becoming safer. What would happen if they did find a gene that predisposes a person to homosexuality?

Would parents get tested and what would they do about it?

This will always be a controversial issue but there are many factors at play not the least, religion, society acceptance, family pressure, and cultural influences.

How do you go if you are anti abortion but also anti gay? Okay I know in reality that someone who was anti abortion would probably not have the test but this is the kind of issues that get raised.

Today in many countries/religions homosexuality is not accepted and they are persecuted. Would you if you lived in that area want your child to go through all of that?

It would be a dilemma. I thought the film handled the issue quite well.

There was a lot of conflict as you would expect. There was the son who asked his mother that if she had known would she have had an abortion. The feeling I got was that despite the fact she said she accepted him she didn't really and would of preferred a son who was not homosexual, he was then questioning her acceptance of him, also that of his sister.

I think I would of left the ending hanging to make people make their own minds up but understand this was a daytime TV movie and so had to have a feel good ending.
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A family torn about the possiblities of a gay child.
bubba-351 November 1998
This film was touching. It will make people question their beliefs and raises a lot of moral questions. The casting was very well choosen. Bredan Fraser does a wonderful job of playing a gay man torn over his families dilemma of having another gay child. It is a far stretch from his boy next door image.It shows his ability to portray a wide variety of characters. His sister, played by Jennifer Beals, is pregnant with a child that may possibly be gay. Her and her husband find out, through genetic testing, that their unborn child may grow up to be gay. Her family tries to help her decide if she should keep the child. Since David ( Fraser) is gay he causes his family to deal with the issue in a way they are not prepared to do. His family does not want to make this child suffer as David has. It will make you question yourself as to if there are somethings better off not to know. For instance is genetic testing for such things right and what would you do in that situation? I think this movie is worth watching.
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Not Perfect, But Important
tim.halkin8 February 2003
I was about to turn the video recorder off after about 10 minutes, but something kept me going, and I'm glad it did.

Feye Dunaway is thoroughly annoying as the Jewish Mama (talk about an unfortunate piece of casting! Sorry, Ms. Dunaway - you've done brilliant work in your life, but you shouldn't have taken this role). Garry Marshall should also stick to producing and directing and not venture in front of a camera. Thanks to the talented Brendan Fraser and Jennifer Beals, I stayed with it, despite the - at times - heavy-handed writing and the over-the-top acting of Ms. Dunaway and Garry Marshall.

The script is a disaster, but at the end of the day, it actually has something very important to say for itself. I have never seen the subject of homophobia dealt with so directly and with such bravado as in this film. It's in your face; you can't escape it...and that's exactly the intent of this film. It asks uncomfortable questions, and gives uncomfortable answers. I just wish that Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass had given their script to a good script doctor. They were definitely going in the right direction, and deserve praise for the effort - just didn't quite capture it on the page.

Again, Fraser and Beals are brilliant, and there are additional bon bons: Rosie O'Donnell and Jon Tenney also give memorable performances.

Bottom line: an important film that should be seen, although not perfect, but hey, what is?!
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Profound Material Beyond Its Production Values
jzappa7 October 2008
This bold, worrying dramatic comedy embarks upon the concern of a thus far fictional form of genetic testing that would ascertain the sexual orientation, among other things of course, of an unborn child. When Suzanne Gold-Stein, played by the beautiful Jennifer Beals, is told by her disconcerted husband that their son is destined to be gay, she contemplates aborting the fetus, much to the pent-up rage and panic of her gay brother, a normally happy-go- lucky creative whose sexual orientation has never been completely accepted and certainly never embraced by the Gold family.

The story gallantly hits on the nature and wrongful persecution of homosexuals. Early in the story, one can hardly believe how dramatic the Gold family's reaction is when the genetic discovery is made, how they can hardly say the word "gay," something one of their own flesh and blood naturally is. It's a very scary story, one that threatens humanity with itself, knowingly projecting a nightmarish perception of what may come when we truly make a technological breakthrough that actually benefits civilization, telling a fortunate story of a mere handful of characters who learn true acceptance, and not all of them do, for it just might be hopeless to end the neverending, inexplicable prejudice that plagues our progression and co-existence.

When a pastor, for instance, claims that if everyone were gay, there would be no society, he must also reflect upon the idea that if everyone were a pastor, there would be no society due to the vow of chastity. In fact, if everyone had in common any sort of orientation, there would be no society because everyone would be essentially the same. That is what is so scary about the film's suggested prediction of genetic testing for pregnancy. If people can successfully and knowingly avoid having gay, biracial, handicapped, autistic, or any other sort of a parent's less than preferable idea of a baby, society will slowly disappear.

To deny not only the rights and acceptance of homosexuals, but to also deny them existence, is to deny those of the countless gay and bi people of notoriety who've contributed so much to culture: social reformer Jane Addams, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, writers Edward Albee, James Baldwin, Alan Ball, Djuna Barnes, Alan Bennett, William S. Burroughs, Samuel Butler, Truman Capote, Noel Coward, Hart Crane, Quentin Crisp, Michael Cunningham, E.M. Forster, Michel Foucault, Nigel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Tennessee Williams, painters Francis Bacon, Jean-Michael Basquiat, filmmakers Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Kenneth Anger, Marcel Carné, Jean Cocteau, George Cukor, Sergei Eisenstein, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Todd Haynes, James Ivory, Gus Van Sant, costume designer Edith Head, singers Melissa Etheridge, Billie Holiday, actors Mario Cantone, Rupert Everett, Harvey Fierstein, Stephen Fry, Nathan Lane, Charles Laughton, Anthony Rapp, composers Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc, Stephen Sondheim, Tchaikovsky, actresses Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Cherry Jones, Jodie Foster, Mayor of West Hollywood John Duran, et cetera. The more we "straight" people socialize with, give birth to, and acknowledge the historically positive effect of homosexuals, there will be more of a face given to the gay, bisexual, and lesbian community. We will see that they are of the same nature, fears, and hardships as the rest of us. The movie's hypothesis scares me that that face could be taken away.

If only this incredible story had been supplied with a stronger sense of production value. It feels like a TV movie. It isn't given any atmosphere or visceral power, which would have done wonders for it. The cast is great, most memorably Brendan Fraser, although Faye Dunaway is miscast. She does not seem at home in her role as Fraser's mother. It seems more of an Anne Bancroft role, for instance. The constant use of David Bowie's Under Pressure on the soundtrack seems exchangeable with so many other pop songs, the camera-work is simple point-and-shoot lack of precision and if certain things like that were given more attention, this could have been a really great film.
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A thought-provoking film
nudnik-223 June 2001
A suburban Jewish family with a married daughter and a gay son (Jennifer Beals and Brendan Fraser, respectively) have their ups and downs until the film poses the question: What would you do if you knew your child would almost certainly be gay? Though most enlightened people would say DUH!! What's the difference?, this story takes the premise and goes with it.

THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS is a made-for-Showtime film, and not of theatrical quality. This is unfortunate, as it would have made an excellent theatrical release. The cast is good, but performances are a bit scattered. Somehow, Faye Dunaway doesn't hit me as the Jewish Mother type. But Brendan Fraser can do no wrong. If I wasn't already gay, I would turn gay for him! It was originally a play--- it would play beautifully on stage. Still, the film is worth seeing.
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Absolutely a must see, Brendan Fraser at his most intense.
Sprite2102 March 2001
Unbelievably insightful movie with a profound look at how science may or may not help us in life's decisions. Absolute must see for all. Leaves you asking as many questions as philosophies you faced. Sometimes knowing all the facts keep us from dealing with life on its own terms.
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Much better and less didactic than I expected...
TooShortforThatGesture10 February 2005
I have avoided watching this movie (or seeing the play upon which it is based) because I expected that it would be sort of low-quality and very "preachy." But, somehow I ended up with a VHS copy and fortunately in working my way through my VHS shelf, I got to it and threw it in the VCR for a look.

To my surprise, the film is actually pretty good. The number of strong actors in the cast helps a lot. I expected the storyline to feel mechanical but (although it is not wildly original and doesn't veer too far from where you'd expect) it actually is a step or two better than the the normal family-in-crisis-TV-movie. The actions and reactions of the characters feel reasonably realistic and not simply designed to create drama or lay out a series of points of view. And the author seems to assume that his audience has some intelligence, making his points without having any characters stand in front of a camera and "speechify." There are a couple of sort of annoying gay clichés that I would have loved to edit out, but nothing too wildly stupid.

And, of course, the underlying questions raised in the film about the coming problem of genetic engineering are both interesting and scary (and are related to any number of human characteristics beyond sexual orientation.) All-in-all, not a movie to set the world on fire, but a pretty solid and reasonably engaging piece of entertainment.
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Grappling with acceptance of gay family members
LincMad12 September 1998
This film is quite a departure from some of the fluff films that

Brendan Fraser has been in. He turns in a fine performance as the gay brother whose sister and brother-in-law must decide whether or not to abort a child who will most likely be gay. The film examines the temptation to avoid the complications of having a gay child, as well as the repercussions of even considering such a choice
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Utterly predictable but thought provoking
preppy-326 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Suzanne Stein (Jennifer Beals) is pregnant but discovers her unborn baby might have a genetic predisposition to be gay. She already has a gay brother (Brendan Fraser) who she loves--but can she have a gay child? Husband Rob (Jon Tenney) and parents Walter and Phyllis (Garry Marshall and Faye Dunaway) are all giving her their feelings and thoughts and driving her crazy.

The initial idea is just silly. The kid MIGHT be gay...but she actually considers aborting it???? I don't think any mother would even think about aborting a child because of that. Also this was overdone and full of obvious characters and speeches. Dunaway and Marshall were not born to play Jewish parents (especially Dunaway), Fraser goes WAY over the top in his role and people spend about 90% of the movie screaming at each other. Also the ending of the play this was based on was changed to provide a nice big happy ending (that I didn't believe for one second). Still it did make me think and wonder...what if my mom knew I was going to be gay. Would she have aborted me? There is some great acting by Beals, Sean O'Bryan (as Fraser's lover), Rosie O'Donnell and especially Tenney--his shower sequence was both exciting (this man is perfect looking with a great body) and shocking (when he reveals his true feelings about his unborn child). So, even though the idea is just silly, it did make me think.
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Just don't expect me to march in a parade
jost-18 July 2003
The first and foremost thing to say about this movie is to note that it is a Fantasy! The jury is still out on the old nature/nurture debate about homosexuality, nor are we yet in the era of "designer babies." So after I got over my feelings of being manipulated by this script to consider a non-reality issue (that sneaked up on me too), I settled in to watch and listen to how it was handled.....and I have to admit, my verdict is "pretty well." The movie avoided all the stridency and preachiness which are endemic to politically correct/ disease-of-the week topics. It was painful to see Brendan Fraser's character wince as he witnessed his parent's feelings about his sexuality, but the movie allowed the parents their feelings too, and one even felt that it was courageous of them to be so honest about their own struggle. Everyone fared pretty well (except the daughter's husband, who for some reason was the "fall guy" and took the hit). The real hero in this drama was the boyfriend, who diffused some of the emotion in the family (no walk in the park). The characters were complex and believable, if the overall premise was not. But that's why we say "It's only a movie."
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Definitely worth seeing but...
Toto-1117 January 1999
A couple does all kinds of genetic testing on their unborn child to make sure it has no genetic defects, diseases, etc. What they find out is that the kid is probably gay. This raises a lot of philosophical questions for the couple (the mother especially since her brother David(Brendan Fraser) is gay). The only movie I've seen that depicts both science AND organized religion in a negative light. The movie tackles several issues including how homosexuels are treated in the home and whether or not genetic testing is immoral. For that reason, this movie is definitely worth seeing. BUT Early in the film, when the test results are first revealed, I actually laughed. 'Is that all? Who cares!' were my thoughts. Then, for half the movie, the extremely annoying couple actually considers aborting the child. 'Your so annoying! Who cares?!' But see the movie anyway, it really is worth seeing.
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The evils inherant in genetic testing
p3r326 May 1999
The movie was a wonderful portrayal of the difficult choices facing women who undergo genetic testing on unborn children. It shows the anguish that too much knowledge can bring, as well as the callous outlook society has on certain types of physical or emotional differences. In this case, homosexuality. The views expressed in this movie are horrifying, and unfortunately, all too common. It's awful in its realness, the foundation for movies like 'Gattaca'. Really makes you wonder. I suggest this movie strongly. It should have gotten bigger publicity, especially with debates raging about genetic testing lately.
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Not at all Like the Play and Completely Disappointing
cfabrick27 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
So I was assigned to read this play in college as a part of my Dramaturgy course and I loved this play. I still love this play. It is a painful look at a family and at acceptance. In the play, the character of David is gay and sort of on the outside of his family. He has these amazing speeches about his love of opera, the ring cycle in particular, and how the characters have to brave through such odds in order to survive.

David too has to survive. He has to struggle with his family, who seem accepting of him, but who are really scared of what they do not know. His family does love him, but they never want to talk about or acknowledge the fact that he is gay and that he has had a partner for about 13 years, the same amount of time his sister has been married.

In the play, his sister becomes pregnant, and though a modern technology that her husband has developed, learns that her child has DNA that might cause her child to be exactly like her brother. Her child would be smart, capable, and possibly gay. She decides that having a gay child would be too much to bear and she has an abortion to get rid of the baby. There is a complication with the abortion and she ends up loosing her uterus.

In the movie however, she keeps the baby. Now, this offends me. I am not gay, but I find it horrific that the script would be changed so drastically. The fact that her character chooses to get rid of the baby is a major turning point of the plot and the core experience of the play. I was shocked to learn that Jonathan Tollins actually wrote the screenplay, because if it were my work that was being bastardized like this, I would refuse. It angers me that the filmmakers did not trust the audience enough to explore the abortion aspect of the piece. It really saddens me.
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Makes no sense
bialystock_bloom8 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I recently read the excellent play on which this movie is based. I was looking forward to watching the movie, but after reading comments, I will not watch it.

A happy ending? They keep the baby? What the hell does "The Twilight of the Golds" mean? It means the end of the Gold family. It means that after this generation, there will be no more Golds. As noted in other spoiler comments, in the play, they opt to abort, there are complications and she has a hysterectomy.

No more babies.

Should have renamed it "A Narrow Escape for the Golds". Pathetic.
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JB finds out her child is gay. Does she keep it or not? ow does this affect the family and her husband? Watch it!
ari_kranios12 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
What an advanced film for its time! And it was amazing how I ended hating Jeniffer Beals right until the end of the film, who can EVER hate Jennifer Beals! So she must have done a good job...I thought the message of the film was excellent and oh my goodness so realistic. I think there is no possible way to find out whether one will actually want to keep there future child if they actually find out that it will be gay. I mean a true, fair valid point! To tell the truth I felt deeply betrayed by the characters which proves to show that they were well written, well developed and convincing to the core. They will make you question your own values. And whether you are gay or not you will be able to take a stance and maybe just maybe at the end change your mind. C it. It's worth the time and thought.
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Joe Bob, Where art though? - Spoilers
cockroach28 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
At the film's core is a fascinating question -- What if people could know beforehand that their child would be born gay? As the movie progresses, it looks at the question from different points of view, raising further questions as it goes: Are there some things we aren't meant to know? How deep does homophobia run? Is it cruel to bring a child into this world knowing he'll always be subjected to prejudice and hate?

So why do I keep feeling like this movie should have been reviewed by Joe Bob Briggs? Maybe it's because the characters are as one-dimensional as b-movie heroes -- the doting mother, the strict patriarch, the sensitive artist, the thick-headed husband. Maybe it's because the script is as clunky as any drive-in special. But mostly, I think, because of one of Joe Bob's favorite words: gratuitous.


Gratuitous bad auditions scene. Gratuitous use of Rosie O'Donnell. Gratuitous shower scene (Ok, that one I enjoyed.) Gratuitous Jewish patriarch. Gratuitous 'half-naked guys in gym' scene. Gratuitous male bonding. Gratuitous homophobic neanderthal.

Still, the film isn't completely without charm. Brendon Fraser is excellent, casting and Faye Dunaway as a Jewish mother was priceless. I just wish they'd given it a different title, something like: 'Prenatal Testing: A Promise Or A Threat?' Then, at least, I would have known what to expect.
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Worst movie i have ever seen.
mharvick200212 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so awful, I wanted to bang my head against the desk I was sitting in. I was forced to watch this trash in a class and I have never groaned so much at a movie than this one. Everything the characters say and do is just stupid. *spolier* To actually think someone would want to abort a baby just because it "might" be gay is just absurd. We all know that there is no way anyone can tell if a baby is going to be gay or not so it is just ludicrous and how the characters are so affected by this. The baby will be a healthy and normal baby but they might end up being gay. I just wanted to yell at the screen for the characters to stop and just think about what they are really thinking about doing. The whole movie is just trash and a waste of good actors.
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Good, but...
thespian223-327 December 2000
I really liked this film, but I hated most of the people in it. Brendan Fraser and his lover were very likeable, but I found myself wishing the other family members would go bury themselves in a hole. I especially hated the father, what a jerk. It is, however, a movie worth seeing because it is an interesting topic. But as I watched it, I found myself thinking, "Kid MIGHT be gay? Who cares? Does it really matter?!" Stupid homophobic family, I thought they'd be more accepting with David in the family.
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Offensive, but worth watching
Lee-1126 August 1999
I found this film to be very offensive, because it make the "homosexual" seem to be a "disease" that people should try to stop. No matter what anyone's child is, the mother and father should love them no matter what, even though the happy ending makes everyone think that she's the good one for what she chooses, but still...she's not because of even the thought of having an abortion knowing how the kid will turn out in a few years is bad 'parenting' or whatever you want to call it. I felt that the ending was to unreal, this is the 90s and people hold grudges, if this was a true story I don't think David would have done what he did at the end, EVEN though it was touching and good because everyone wants to see family's together at the end. Call me stupid and wrong, but I think that he really would have not done what he did at the end, knowing that he might not be here on earth if they had this kind of technology back then when he was born. I know that's wrong, but it's true. Faye Dunaway was excellent, as was Brendan Fraser.

All and all, I liked this movie, even though it was kind of pathetic and offensive.
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This film was pathetic
mikeymar7 December 1998
I am actually embarrassed for the playwright who sold out in order to make this story "acceptable" for television. Not every story has a happy ending...kind of like life.
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Rather offensive...
ken-1277 May 1999
This movie meant well. But that we are still watching people's phobias, prejudices, and hatred of gays and lesbians -- and then in a way being told that for others to hate and despise us is just a natural reaction, is insulting. It may be natural for some to feel this way about gay people, but if someone who felt the same strong "natural" reactions towards women, or blacks, or asians, were to voice them so casually and then try to justify those feelings, we would be all over them advising them that their reactions were not to be tolerated and they should keep such feelings to themselves. Why not the same here? I hated listening for a good portion of this movie about what a hard decision it is to raise a gay child. Children are tough to raise no matter gay, straight, male, female, whatever. Again, I think the parties involved in making this had good intentions...I just wonder why all the political correctness claptrap didn't apply here. This is where it was really needed.
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flawed but interesting plot line here (spoiler on plot)
mazalhamidbar27 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What a difference a decade makes; it's simply unfathomable to me that anyone would consider aborting a healthy baby because he might be gay, but maybe people in 1997 would think that way. By the way, this is at least the second movie in which Brendan Fraser has played Jewish (School Ties) and (sort of) the second one in which he has played gay (though he wasn't actually gay in Gods and Monsters, but, well, you have to see his excellent work in that film). Fraser's performance is the heart and soul of this film as well. I could have done without the gay and Jewish stereotypes in this piece. What I thought would happen and what I wanted to see happen was how the Orthodox Jewish family would react to the abortion idea, as they presumably would be both opposed to homosexuality and opposed to abortion. I was thinking/hoping that those people (the semi-estranged parents of the father of the baby) would take a stand for keeping the baby and keeping the marriage together, and that both would happen.
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