Stepmom (1998) Poster

(1998)

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Touching
QueenMakeda8414 March 2003
A sweet and honest movie. It's definitely a family film. I liked the relationship of having to fill someone's shoes in a sense, because people are so attached to them. Sarandon was awesome of course. She carried her part with grace and the feral intensity of a mama bear. Nothing got over on her and I liked that because she wasn't going to be around much longer. It wasn't about sizing up the competition, but making sure she was the right person her kids could grow up with instead of her. It was heartfelt and real. Great film.
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10/10
A Stepmom review from a fan!
fanofreba13 April 2006
I loved this movie! If you are in the mood for a tear jerker movie, this is the movie too see. Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon are remarkable together. This is the absolute best I have seen Julia Roberts act and this movie defiantly brings out her talent. Susan Sarandon can make any movie good. But she delivers outstanding effort to make her character relate to other women who have had the problems that Susan's character faces. This movie is of course a 10 out of 10! Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon will make you laugh now and then, but they will also make you cry with the difficulties that they face together on screen. Stepmom is a movie you'll enjoy and "always always" remember as a movie that filled your heart. So if you haven't seen Stepmom yet...go and see it! You'll be glad that you did.
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8/10
Great movie!
Karok-27 January 2000
I'm still wondering why Susan and Julia didn't even get a nomination of the Academy, or the screenplay. This movie is a great movie about jelousy of a mother, that is scared that her children might love someone else as their second mother, and gives such a hard time to that person. And in the other hand, you see that young lady, in love (with the father of those kids), that forgives everything that has been done to her. She was called a bitch a couple of times (the dog scene with Ana, and when she brings the kids at Jackies, and Ana has make up). Was ignored, and even lost her job for those kids. And she forgives all of this, and tryes to like everyone. The world sure would be perfect if everyone would be this way. The problem is that the world has too many Jackies, and not enough Isabels.

If you are someone that likes to cry, and cry. Watch it. Is one of the sweetes movie ever, talking about peoples feelings, fears, and happynes. Great!
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10/10
delightful & heart warming ...
i_am_anuj24 May 2001
Stepmom is one of the most delightful movies in recent times ... ! It's a touching tale of maternal love that doesn't fail to move you no matter how many times you see it. It's a gem !

Stepmom tells you the story of an American marriage that loses its spark with time and the man seeks love outside of it. This sensitive film deals with how the family handles the delicate situation --- at times, holding out bravely ... and at other times, buckling under the emotional trauma ! The other woman, very ably portrayed by Julia Roberts, is a genuinely good human being who tries to bond with her lovers' kids inspite of their mother's (and their own) initial bitterness towards her. The plot thickens when the mother of the kids, portrayed with finesse by Susan Sarandon, is found to have cancer. The mother's days in the world are now numbered and the family must learn to carry on without her ... ! Stepmom now paints a warm and endearing picture of how the members of this family reconcile their differences and stand united and strong in the face of this crisis.

It would be UNFAIR if I rated this one anything less than 9 ... !
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10/10
Wicked!
foxy_pirate12 May 2004
I think Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts work so well together to make this a lovely, heart warming story. I loved every minute of it. I love the bit at the end where Anna says goodbye to her mum because it shows the relationship between mother and daughter beautifully which always makes me cry and think how I'll have to start appreciating my mum more!! Julia Roberts is my favourite actress and I have always wanted to see her and Susan Sarandon working together. Susan Sarandon's film Thelma and Louise reminds me of this film, two women facing dificulties and hardship to come out on top stronger and together.
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6/10
Very Beautiful
jaddison38319 January 2007
I got Stepmom for Julia Robert's performance, and I expected it to be pretty good. It did not fail me- it exceeded my expectations. This movie is beautiful.

It's the story of a husband and wife with two kids who have fallen out of love, and now the father is getting married to a new, younger woman. The mother of the kids does everything she can to make her children hate this woman who is going to very soon be a permanent part of their life.

Julia Roberts indeed gives a fine performance as the fiancée of Ed Harris, the husband. She steals your heart in every scene she's in as this young woman who is trying so hard to be exactly what those children want and need. And in the end, she's searching for acceptance and love from them as much as they are from her. And then there's Susan Sarandon, giving one of her best performances as the mother of the children who wants nothing more than to remove her children from The younger woman completely. Sarandon's character is horrible- one of the most awful and hateful people in modern movies. She backstabs, she's overly-critical, and for a long time, she finds every chance possible to turn her children against the other woman- yet you cannot help but feel for her. As nasty as she is, you sympathize with this woman who is having to deal with her children being in the care of a younger, inexperienced woman who is living with her ex-husband. It's impossible not to understand her character's mourning and confusion. For the first time in her life, this woman is not the only mother in her children's life.

Don't be surprised if you cry- more than once. It's that good, and that affecting. Truly, this film is one of the better delights of the past few years. Beautiful story, great performances, real emotions- 8/10 stars!

Jay Addison
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Just Wonderful
Darkest_Rose8 December 2002
I love Stepmom. I've seen it about a million times but it moves me every time and I'm always close to crying. Everyone does an amazing job. You could totally feel the chemistry between Susan Sarandson and Julia Roberts. You could feel the hate, the jealousy and at the end the understanding between these two. The younger kids do a great job too. They were very belivable. Funny, Heartwarming and a Tearjerker, Stepmom get's a 10/10 from me
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Good Drama With Some Good Performances.
famousgir116 July 2001
Stepmom is a really good drama. Their are some very sad moments in the movie but their are also some funny ones too. Julia Roberts stars as Isabel, who is of course the 'Stepmom' and what a brilliant job Julia does. Other good performances come from Ed Harris who plays Luke, Isabel's boyfriend and Susan Sarandon who plays Jackie, Luke's ex-wife. Jena Malone and Liam Aiken also do quite a good job as Luke's kids Anna and Ben. The music in the movie is really nice too. I give Stepmom a 9/10.
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2/10
Sappy, manipulative drivel
Laitue_Gonflable16 July 2006
I usually try to be objective when I watch films, to appreciate their technical merit above all else, but in the case of Stepmom, I fail. It's exactly the sort of puffy, ridiculous Valium that Hollywood shamelessly pumps into growing generations of cynics to brainwash them into the belief that every person in the world is a cuddly, fluffy elf-like creature and conflict only exists because it's been too long since we all sat down for a singalong around the piano.

I know I sound like a terrible cynic for judging this film in this way (I am a terrible cynic, let's not deny it), but it's difficult to swallow this tripe. I come from a - dare I use that devilish phrase - broken home myself and in fact my old man is getting remarried very soon, but I still fail to see any resemblance between Chris Columbus' vision of family harmonics and the interpersonal dynamics that exist here on Earth. And by that I refer both to the grating, fire-and-brimstone conflict at the beginning of the film and the sugary hug fest into which it slowly descends as it progresses.

There is however, nothing inherently wrong with sugary, optimistic scenarios; if they are grounded, well-driven, well-plotted explorations of discovering the light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard for me to put my finger on a perfect example but the most obvious one would have to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has nevertheless received a certain quantity of criticism from yours truly for drawing too distinct a line between "good" and "bad". In spite of that trilogy's shortcomings though, it's a good example of a golden-sunshine-lollipops conclusion that is plodded out solidly over a long arduous journey of storytelling.

Chris Columbus here dispenses with any nuance of hard work, or respect for his audience's intelligence, and dishes up a glib, emotionally manipulative treat for us to wolf down hungrily, starved for happy endings in our cinematic universe of chainsaw massacres and David Lynch.

There really isn't a saving grace to this film, as far as I can see: Its lack of realism obviously renders me incapable of truly appreciating whatever fine qualities it may have, but the dialogue is dull, performances are average and being such a suburban story, there really isn't much room for technical film-making brilliance. On top of this, every single time I think back on it I get "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" stuck interminably in my head, and that, more than anything else, is unforgivable.

2/10
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2/10
Incredulous and not entertained.
mcfly-427 December 1998
The first two thirds of the film are quite clearly stated by the sixty-second trailer. The big screen, unexpurgated, version serves only to make these loathsome and hateful people (well portrayed by Susan Sarandon and Jena Malone) more substantial and more tangible. The events of the last third of the film are intended, I assume, to turn around our perception of these characters and somehow make them more endearing. Well, for me, it just didn't work. Although the acting was at least competent, the apparent moral of the story of absolute forgiveness under adversity was just not plausible.

If you are a staunch Julia Roberts fan you may appreciate her portrayal of the unquestioning Isabel but are not likely to enjoy the abuse her character must endure.
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4/10
... Bitch, PLZ.
mizunoakashi15 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has been exhibited countless times in A&E for Latin America. And each time it is, I hate it more.

The only characters I didn't want to punch and stab were the little boy and the future step mom: the dad was nonexistent and couldn't even try to hold his own against his mega-bitch of an ex-wife; the daughter was a whiny, lying, rude brat who YET AGAIN perpetuates the "Daddy's little girl who HATES every attractive woman next to him because Mommy Said So" stereotype; and Susan Sarandon's mom chara was one of the most overbearing, spiteful, misogynistic mother charas I've ever seen, who spoils her babies rotten to the point of making them completely detached from reality while practically abusing the unfortunate girl who's gonna "replace" her when she's gone, just because she commits the sin of being prettier, younger and with a modern mindset. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for her when she finally kicks the bucket, after all she has made others go through?

Not even great actors like Sarandon, Harris and Roberts can save this pile of manipulative, cloying, fake, pseudo-deep crap.
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2/10
The Cheesiest Movie Alive
xphile6311 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
*Minor spoilers ahead*

Julia Roberts strikes again! Basically, this film is a big ol' sticky wad of total melodrama about a bunch of snobby, spoiled rich people throwing tantrums whenever they don't get their own way. It's supposed to teach the audience something about growing up and bonding with stepparents and coping with divorce and terminal illness and a whole slew of other things, but in the end it's just stupid, contrived and stereotypical. All three of the female characters (Jackie, Isobel and Anna) are self-absorbed, rude and manipulative and the younger child (I forget his name) is supposed to be all cute and handsome and charismatic and blah-de-blah but instead he quickly becomes annoying. Anyway, the plot basically goes round and round in circles for the first forty-five minutes and then the writers realized that it wasn't going anywhere and decided to deal the Tearjerking Terminal Illness(tm) card just to wrap it up. So they have Susan Sarandon's character get cancer, resulting in a half-million Heartwrenching Goodbye Sequences(tm) which ultimately bring the family closer together. I have a lot of respect for many of the actors in this film, but in all honesty, the film itself was way too cheesy for me to stomach (no pun intended). If you're a big fan of any of the actors, it's probably worth it, though.
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1/10
Paaaaaaaaaaaain
Pando5 December 1999
They showed this movie on the bus from Amherst to New York. It hurt. It hurt a lot. The squealing little moppet, the two dimensional characters, the overused plot contrivances, the steriotypes, the hideous music, the pathetic attempt at emotional manipulation, the... the "dialogue" if that's what it can be called... How bad was it? Well, the bus was delayed, so they showed "Money Train", too. And after the horror that was "Step Mom", "Money Train" actually felt like a breath of fresh air.

I got to see "Step Mom" on the way back, too. Thanks, "Peter Pan"!
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1/10
Ludicrous
bejasus25 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler alert -- (if you care about spoiling such an awful movie) -- There's one scene that captures just how ludicrous this movie is. A heart-to-heart between Julia Roberts, the younger new bride-to-be, and Susan Sarandon, the dying, middle-aged ex-wife. Susan Sarando talks about how she'll miss out on her children's future. Julia Roberts replies by saying imagine how *she* is going to feel in the future, when the girl is getting married and can only think about how she wishes it was her mother and not her stepmother there to help with her wedding.

I guess the screenwriter really expects us to swallow this. Sure, yeah, the REAL tragedy is that the new trophy wife will lack confidence. Come on Mom, quit feeling sorry for yourself! Cancer, chemo, and death before your children hit puberty -- well, that's nothing compared to the suffering Julia Roberts is going to face.

Wish I could get the two hours I wasted on this movie back.
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1/10
I have seen 3000 movies in my lifetime. Stepmom was the first I ever walked out of in my life.
TomCees28 December 1998
Stepmom after being hyped by its two stars for the past month was without any doubts the worst movie I have ever seen. It replaced that horror of horrors "Body Guard". The characters were unlikeable the plot was non-existent and the dialog could have been written by a high school freshman. Every one from stars,who by the way were executive producers (thus the reason for the hype), to the director should be held responsible for putting this piece of trash in theatres. The only redeeming factor from the entire miserable process was that Ed Harris only embarrassed himself three maybe four times. Two words say it all..."IT STUNK" .
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2/10
Horrific cry flick...
Eyeblood24 February 1999
I don't want to sound harsh, but this movie bored my coke flat and my popcorn stale. It bored me so bad that I had a fight with my girlfriend about emotions. There is only one reason to rewatch this movie. I want to do a scientific study of how many times one of the characters cried, or almost cried. Now don't get me wrong, like my girlfriend did, emotions are necessary for a movie to be good. I can't stand movies, and it seems to be either the French, if subtitles can be emotional, or Hollywood that make these movies, that are obviously trying to suck me in by squirting tears in my eye. The whole movie was a magnanimous fairy tale. I would have called it, "Trouble in Never-neverland." Everyone lived in a beautiful house, with beautiful things, with lots of money, being beautiful themselves, having cute kids, having cool jobs, and even the damned dog was cute. Blah!! If someone in Hollywood is listening, drop the budgets and raise the quality. It's a good thing movies have a loud song during the ending credits to wake people up.

Look to the horizon. It is void of RIDERS.
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3/10
Good acting, but badly overdrawn, psychologically inept writing
DrTBob8 July 2000
In this maudlin, melodramatic fantasy, we have five main characters: The stepmom Julia Roberts), the mom (Susan Sarandon), the dad (Ed Harris), and two kids. The stepmother's role is the only one of the male roles to emerge faintly from one dimension, to resemble a live person. The mom is a controlling, spiteful, know-it-all, who also somehow manages to muster immense, flawless tenderness with her kids. The dad is just good. The daughter resembles a person; the son, some narcissist's self-image of himself in childhood, remarkably charming and good-natured. As I watched it, I figured, "This was written by someone with a godawful, but dead, obsessive-compulsive mother to whom he was overly close in childhood, whom he feels bad about hating now, especially since he likes his stepmom so much." The performances are excellent, but the characters are so incredible that this is more cartoon than drama. Some parts were so predictable and mawkish I just fastforwarded through them.
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1/10
Where do I begin...
Boyo-25 November 1999
I couldn't watch more than twenty minutes. I tried, God knows I tried, but I was unsuccessful. I love Sarandon and Ed Harris and if they ever make a real movie together I would love to see it. I can't believe the Olsen twins did not direct and write this unbelievable garbage. Life is too short for a movie like this.
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8/10
Two Thumbs Up!
namashi_19 December 2009
Chris Columbus directed 'Stepmom' is a winner all the way... a true 1998 Classic! The film is highly entertaining, in fact there is hardly a moment when you feel bored in this 123 minute-film. Columbus has made superb films, and 'Stepmom' ranks as his best.

The film has a beautiful story, a story about a divorced couple, their children and the Stepmom. The film explains the worth of a family... it surely leaves a great moral behind. The climax is superb, it gets you moist-eyed.

Performance-wise: Ed Harris is Incredible, as ever. He steals the show in a small, but significant role. Julia Roberts is fantastic as the Stepmom. Susan Sarandon needs to mentioning, she's a class apart. Liam Aiken & Jena Malone, the kids, stand out.

On the whole 'Stepmom' is a must watch for each and every cine-lover.
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3/10
Too melodramatic
Tweed-327 December 1998
The movie was filled with good actors but it just didn't make it. The melodrama was overdone and it was too long for its simple plot. I was disappointed and very glad I hadn't talked my husband into coming with me. The thing that makes me laugh is that had it been a tv movie it would have been laughed at by the critics. As a multi-million dollar Hollywood extravaganza, the critics have tried hard to be kind. They've tried too hard, those who follow the hype will be quite disappointed and find it hard to sit through to the "one more tear" end.
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4/10
Manipulative star-vehicle which the talented stars cannot save...
moonspinner552 February 2007
After Ed Harris and Susan Sarandon separate, he proposes to new girlfriend Julia Roberts, with Ed and Susan's confused kids forced into taking sides. Manipulative, "heartwarming" movie filled with adorable characters all hiding their collective wonderfulness under scowling masks of sarcasm. It represents the nadir of the notorious 'Ali MacGraw disease' (in this case, cancer) wherein someone gets to expire slowly, and lovingly, all the while glowing with strength, warmth and acceptance. Sarandon dances around the house with her children ("Sweatin' To The Oldies" without Richard Simmons?), Roberts orchestrates Sarandon's daughter's put-down of a middle school Lothario, and poor Harris disappears "at the office" whenever the script warrants a verbal cat fight between the two ladies. It's directed at the "Terms Of Endearment" crowd, but with dialogue such as, "Don't walk out on your mother!"..."No Dad, that's your job!", I would suspect smart viewers would take an early walk. *1/2 from ****
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3/10
Sarandon deserves Oscar for portrayal of Mother Theresa
JFB6 January 1999
Was this film the result of a guilty conscience or just wishful thinking? The sweetness and light, caring and sharing tend toward the hypoglycemic end of the scale.

Great acting, though! Sarandon, as usual, was superb. Julia Roberts was probably her best since Mystic Pizza. Ed Harris was the weakest of the cast, most likely due to the fact that he had an exceptionally unrealistic role to portray... the great guy who dumps his wife, gets her to condone his new relationship, then gets all the women in his life loving and hugging one another. Pretty heady stuff. Don't forget to avoid the candy counter on this one... it's far too sweet already.
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Raising Kids
tedg14 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

When I stumble across a film like this, I wonder about the genre engineering that went into it.

`Let's see,' I can imagine the discussion: `a standard sickness/death movie but this time the redemption will be tied to making piece with a divorce. That gives us a chance to do lots of minidramas involving the children and the father's new lover.'

Nodding heads all around. But the one person in the room who thinks expresses concern that no one will come to such a film despite the attractive demographic engineering. This person suggests that the girlfriend be a parallel center of the film, that they get an endearing draw, like Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan. This way, the relentless drama can be balanced by cuteness and comedy. In due course, the group agrees on splitting the film, essentially divorcing the two threads: death and charm.

The two kids have to be split too: one to be serious (with some minidrama in her own life) and one to be comic, pulling all sorts of enchanting pranks.

We end up with a blended film from blended genres about a blended family. It works about as well as your average blended family.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 4: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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5/10
What Would Scriptwriters Do Without Terminal Illness?
JamesHitchcock2 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Stepmom gets off to quite a promising start. Luke Harrison, a successful lawyer, is divorced, and the film depicts the bitterness between his former wife, Jackie, and his new girlfriend, Isabel, with Luke himself caught between the two women. (Rather surprisingly, the part of Luke is a relatively minor one; the film concentrates much more on the two women's relationship with each other). The two have quite different personalities. Jackie is a full-time mother and housewife(she has two young children by Luke), whereas Isabel (much the younger of the two)has a successful career as a photographer for an advertising agency. Jackie is rather conservative, Isabel more trendy. (Jackie, for example, likes classical music, while Isabel is a rock fan).

What raises the film, in its opening scenes, above the ordinary, is the subtle way in which the two women are portrayed by Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. Perhaps unusually for a film of this type, the thrusting career woman Isabel is the more sympathetic of the two. For all Jackie's "Earth Mother" pretensions, she comes across as a bitter and rather unpleasant character. Although Isabel was not the "other woman" in Luke and Jackie's divorce, Jackie nevertheless resents her presence in Luke's life, and uses her children as a weapon in her battle. The children, particularly the girl Anna, do not get on with Isabel, and Jackie never misses an opportunity to encourage them in their dislike.

The film's turning-point comes when Luke proposes to Isabel and, at about the same time, Jackie is diagnosed with cancer. Jackie realises that Isabel will be playing a permanent role in her children's life and, as her own disease might prove fatal, that in future Isabel may possibly be the only mother the children will have. The rest of the film tells the story of how the two women come to terms with, and learn to respect, one another.

Unfortunately, the film starts to decline from this turning-point onward. The pace becomes fatally slow, and a potentially interesting story of the tensions arising upon the break-up of a family unit descends into soap opera. I sometimes wonder what scriptwriters would do without terminal illness to rely on as a plot device. It is, however, a difficult device to use successfully; most films that rely upon it fall into the trap of maudlin sentimentality. Stepmom is perhaps better than some, but this is largely due to the skill of the three main leads, Roberts, Sarandon and Ed Harris as Luke. There is little in the script that would distinguish the film from the average "disease of the month" TV movie, except that a TV movie would perhaps move at a faster pace and would not draw out the agony to such an extent. 5/10
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2/10
Sing "Glory" you were saved from the funeral
Gonzo-225 December 1998
This movie depressed me and bored me. I found the scenery standard "Christmas", the story usual "tearjerker," the acting standard Student's T (tears x teeth.) The film is not recommended for chemotherapy prospects. It is not recommeded for entertaiment seeking prospects. It is not for those who choose matches instead of scissors for editing. It is not recommeded for those with low tolerance for Christmas over-decorating, double rums, double restaurant scenes, and the rest of all the double overused themes that start with the letter "d": death, dying, divorce, dismenorhea, etc.. I gave it a "2"; it's the Season!....
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