One True Thing (1998) Poster

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A well-acted, non-schmaltzy drama
Gary M. James17 August 2001
What impressed me the most about "One True Thing" was how up-front it was when the daughter mentions her mother's cancer at the beginning of the movie. As depressing the subject matter was, it was a refreshing change of pace instead of being blindsided with the revelation about a character's fatal illness 2/3 into the movie ("Love Story" "Terms of Endearment", etc.).

Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger and William Hurt give very strong performances that don't go over the edge. The characters they play seem human; they're not perfect people. (Arguably, one might not say that about the "Martha Stewart"-type character Streep plays but throughout the film, I found her character to be noble in a non-sappy way. She's dealing with her plight the best way she knows how.)

"One True Thing" is an observant, unsentimental family drama in which the tears at the end were well-earned.
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A wonderful, wonderful film.
Lothwesta29 October 2005
This is one of my favourite films of all time, no doubt about it. Everything about it is superb. While it may appear to be a film which mainly appeals to women, I think that the men should give it a chance too - a substantial part of the storyline is from George Gulden's (William Hurt) point of view, as the father of the family.

Through 'One True Thing', we see how a family copes with disease - from everybody's point of view. Although we follow the story from Ellen Gulden's (Renee Zellweger) eyes, it never feels like we're missing out on anything.

The strongest point of the film is the superb acting. Hurt and Zellweger give very strong, convincing performances, and the supporting cast are also very good; however, it's Meryl Streep who stands out here. I truly believe this to be not only one of her best performances to date, but one of the best ever. Her work in this film is absolutely astounding. She's everything and anything the film could require from her - and then so much more. What she brings to this role is truly magical; the woman is a genius. How she could have missed out on the Oscar that year, I have absolutely no idea.

There isn't much more to say, except for SEE THIS FILM. It is all at once extremely insightful, moving, humorous and beautiful. You won't regret watching this one.
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pooky3702726 September 2004
The reason I think this movie is fabulous is that it has so many layers of emotion. From the script and the fabulous acting you can tell that there is a history behind all of the feelings that there are. You understand why the characters take certain actions and why the do not make others. You can feel sympathy and joy and love and sorrow for them all at once. You see humanity at its best AND at it's worst. You can relate to the characters because although you may have never been in their exact situations before you see qualities and downfalls in them that you see in yourself. To a certain extent this movie kind of keeps you wondering but then at the end it explains itself and you feel a certain peace and understanding not only in you but for the characters. I will say that I have have never EVER cried so much in my life nor have gotten so much out of something. I implore you to watch this movie and take it's meaning to heart. That there is only one true thing and that is... love.
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A Sombre Movie With Good Performances
sddavis6329 July 2009
The DVD jacket in which this movie came describes it as "uplifting and humorous." Those are not the words I would have chosen - not by a long shot. I would choose a word like "sombre," sometimes even "depressing." Which isn't to say that it's a bad movie. It's actually a pretty good movie, featuring good performances from the leads, with enough uncertainty throughout about what's going to happen at the end that you keep watching. The uncertainty comes from the structure of the movie - it seems to revolve around Ellen's reminiscences of her mother's slow death from cancer, as she is interviewed by the DA. So, we know from the start that something suspicious happened at the end - the questions are "what?" and "who?"

Renee Zellweger was very good as Ellen - the somewhat resentful daughter who has to give up her life and job in New York to return home to care for her sick mother. Ellen evolves through the movie - moreso than any other character - as she learns to deal with both the strengths and weaknesses of her parents. Her relationship with her father (William Hurt) is quite interesting. My initial impression was that they were quite close, but the warts in the relationship start to show after a while. Hurt was effective as the detached husband - detached not in an uncaring way, but in the sense of being unable to cope with what's happening to his wife, and seeking escape from it in various ways. Finally, Meryl Streep as the cancer-stricken Kate was very convincing in the role, seeking to live out what remains of her life in the most fulfilling way possible, then dealing with the anger she feels at her increasing debilitation. In a way, watching a family deal with this kind of crisis reminded me a little bit of "Ordinary People," although this movie was far less emotionally intense. So, not "uplifting and humorous" (with all due respect to whoever wrote the synopsis on the DVD jacket) but very good in its own way. 7/10
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Less is more
mdefranc18 March 2004
As William Hurt also said in The Accidental Tourist, " invariably more". I guess many of us do live in denial, trying to slip through life as if certain things weren't happening. It is true that rude awakenings sometimes are the only ways for some of us to open our eyes and smell the coffee.

William Hurt executed the egotistic father's role like no one ever has before. He is gifted at portraying the role of the "blind" husband. I guess if Kathleen Turner had played the wife's part in this movie he would have had a much harder time. I believe the three of them (Hurt, Streep and Zellweger) portrayed a real family story, something far from the typical Hollywood drama. They were able to show the strong and weak sides of being human and bearing family responsibilities. Very beautiful movie, very descriptive with several not-so-long scenes. Indeed, sometimes invariably more.
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Streep is magical
Boyo-216 September 1998
I enjoyed this movie as much as you can, given the subject matter. Streep is completely amazing, Renee has some great moments, and Hurt does his usual preppy jerk routine. Several scenes will make you cry, but this is not the usual fatal-disease-in-the-family fare that you might expect it to be, thanks to Carl Franklin, who keeps the story fresh when stereotypes and cliches prevail.
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A Heartfelt, Moving, Story
oliverl-110 September 2004
One True Thing is an beautifully made film with an established cast. Renee Zellweger plays the journalist daughter of Meryl Streep and William Hurt, who also put in excellent performances.

Zellweger shines in the emotional movie as she discovers her childhood memories of her parents are not what she thinks they are. Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls also has a part in this movie as Ellen's (Zellweger) friend Jules, although this is a bit part, she truly adds to the storyline.

A moving and beautiful story, I recommend it. 8/10 Stars
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True Thing is True to Life
LibertyBelle10 November 2001
It's not surprising that the majority of higher-rated votes were submitted by females aged 45+. This is the timeframe in women's lives when they become the caretakers of aged and ill parents. I lost my mother, from complications of cancer, in June, and went through most of the same emotions portrayed by Zellweger in this film. Yes, it made me cry, but the tears were real, the characters were real, and the plot development extremely accurate. Kudos to the entire cast and crew for a wonderful portrayal of life and death, and the promises of tomorrow.
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A very true movie about what we don't want to imagine.
gremma8 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Written by someone who has been there, you can tell, but only if you've been there. Excellent performances by Meryl Streep (of course!), Renee Zellweger and William Hurt.

Many people have said that it is about a dysfunctional family, I think every family is dysfunctional when they are facing this kind of torment. To NOT be dysfunctional would be dysfunctional! You are losing your family as you know it, can anything be worse? People need to see this movie so when they are faced with this nightmare maybe they will change how they do it. Maybe they will see that the father is denying himself valuable time he'll never get a chance at again. Maybe they will realize how hard it is to die, or to watch someone you love die. They didn't miss much of the nightmare, it's hard to forget.
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A Moving Film about life and values
sallysue24 October 1999
I don't cry easily over movies, but I have to admit, this one brought me to tears. Although I am not a Ms. Streep fan, her performance was excellent. The title defines in a sentence what a mother's love is. For the first hour I didn't like any of the characters, but that changed as the movie went on. The movie also explained why certain marriages last even though there are obstacles. A must see film.
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Is more more?
zerve27 September 1998
Yes, at least in large part to Streep's performance. The more we learn of Kate and her character, the more we love her and her strengths. The same can be said about Ellen, Zellweger's role as daughter who has postponed fast track career to come home to be with Streep as Kate faces crippling and debilitating illness. Their relation ship at movie beginning is strained to say the least. Going into the theater I was mentally prepared for a very deep and emotional roller coaster ride. A slow start with character development was actually to the movie's benefit. In terms of personal growth, the main characters, except for Streep, were not the same people by movies end. We came to learn them as they learned about themselves. Zellweger and Hurt appear one dimensional, both focused on their writing and careers, with daughter idolizing father. Streep the same as a mother content with home making. But as the movie continues to unfold, we get to see all of these characters as real; their strengths and weaknesses both. Ellen's childhood flashback illustrate happy moments of only father at first, but as time goes on, she relives the same flashbacks and notes her mother's subtle, supportive role. All are challenged to assess their lives in the face of certain death of Streep, whose role as matriarch continues to impress as the tale is told. She was the 'light' of the film, as Hurt confesses. The bedroom conversation between mother and daughter is exceptional, when secrets are revealed and the realization that potential dreams are left unfulfilled. I doubt there was a dry eye in the house at this point. Follow that up with the New Year's Eve scene, a funny breath of fresh air at a difficult and emotional part of the movie. The movie was very good with very good performance by Hurt, Streep and Zellweger. I wouldn't call it the movie of the year, but consideration should go to Streep and Zellweger for nominations. Hurt lends his expected strong presence to both roles, and makes both characters all the better. Give it an 8 out of 10.
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The story takes a very realistic view on the illness of a parent. If you want to see good acting and the reality of life do not miss this movie.
Rosemea D.S. MacPherson16 September 1999
Kate Gulden, played by one of the most nominated actresses of the last decade of this century, and also one of the most talented actresses Meryl Streep(Out of Africa). She is wonderful is every part that she plays. The Yale graduate is the pride and joy of the American Cinema.

Kate's health is deteriorating and her husband, George, role well developed by brilliant actor and also Oscar winner, William Hurt (Smoke, Kiss of the Spider Woman) has a hard time with the deteriorating health of his one true thing, and seeks his daughter's help. The poor daughter, Ellen Gulden, Renée Zellweger (Jerry Maguire) has way too much expected of her. No breaks! The story takes a very realistic view on the illness of a parent. In this movie the only daughter has to put her life on hold to care for the needs of others. There is always one in every family who faces that kind of responsibility. Ellen is angry the beginning of the movie, but as time passes she ends up understanding her mothers' life time dedication to her family. She even asks her mom: How do you do his, every day, in and out and nobody notices it? That is what women do, a lot of what I call invisible work. Moreover we clean, we fix, we mend, we stretch, we celebrate, we are the best friends, we are confidants, the mistress, outreachers, disciplinarians, sensitive. Some of us, like both women in this movie, have the perfect education, are the psychological pillar for the entire family and also do all that invisible work! That is Kate Ellen, and many women in our society. Many of us have already gone through that stage of life when our parents age and died. I have been there. They just went too young. I have given my parents my thanks, but I never understood them as well as when I had to play their roles, and had to walk in their shoes. This movie mirrors the reality of life. Perhaps it is sad, but that is how life is, at times. George a Professor at Harvard is complicated person, who appears to think that his work is more important than everybody else, and has a very "master/servant" mentality toward the women in his life. He is not strong enough to cope. If you want to see good acting and the reality of life do not miss this movie. Favorite Scenes: The restaurant coming to Kate, violins and all. The making of a table out of broken china. That I so symbolic! We are all broken vessels! Favorite Quotes: George: "It is only by going uphill, that you realize that you are really going downhill." George "You have a Harvard education but where is your heart?"
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A Terrific Family Drama with Three Outstanding Actors
gregorybnyc29 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Meryl Streep has played lots of married women in her long and storied career. But none quite as radiant and loving as she does in this outstanding family drama. In fact, I wouldn't have thought this a part for Streep at all (this is Susan Sarandon territory). Streep is the total wife and mother to her English professor husband, and published author (William Hurt), and two adult children who have come home to celebrate their father's 55th birthday. I remember liking this movie a lot when it was first released in theaters. I found a copy of the DVD and bought it and last night watched it. I had an entirely different appreciation for Anna Quinlan's richly observed story of a family in crisis as the result of the mother's suffering from a harrowing illness. This is not a spoiler. You know the mother has cancer from the very first frame.

My recollection was that Streep was playing a tightly controlled Martha Stewart-type domestic perfectionist and of course, watching it the second time, I realized nothing could be further from the truth. At first you are lulled into thinking this might be the case. She throws a costume birthday party for her husband and seems ridiculous dressed as an aging Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, complete with ruby red slippers and a toy Toto. When her daughter, played by Renee Zelwegger is in the kitchen with her mother, she finds herself corrected constantly but only because her daughter has rejected her mother's domesticity and in the family home, she is a stranger in a strange land--inept and uninterested. The day after the party, we learn that Streep's character is being kept in the hospital for surgery, and suddenly Dad is insisting that his daughter take leave from her job as a reporter for New York Magazine, and stay home to take care of her ailing mother. Bristling with resentment, she obeys her beloved father's demands, but this sets up the stage for many shifting changes in the family dynamic.

Tellingly, the daughter says at upfront that she was never close to her mother, and was the perfect Daddy's little girl. She emulated her father to the point where she also became a writer, and looks to him for approval, which he is rather stingy with and often with backhanded criticisms. Meanwhile, the daughter takes on the chores of running the household while taking on the duties of ministering to her mother. She makes lunch for her mother's club, The Minnie's, a group of the town's women who do lots of beautifying and other civic chores. She arrogantly assumes, it's not big deal to cook, but can't cook a lick and the badly prepared meal lays on the plates, mostly untouched. But her mother's praise for her daughter's effort is genuine and laced with love. As Daddy's feet of clay become more brittle, the mother's non-judgmental behavior and warmth and appreciation for her daughter begins to open the younger woman's eyes to the reality of her parent's marriage. Daddy's probable infidelities, his vanity, his literary snobbishness and willingness to kiss ass of a visiting writer he idolizes, show him to be less of a hero in his daughter's eyes. Worse, she see that he does nothing in the house to help make his wife more comfortable, and he increasingly stays away as her condition deteriorates. The daughter's resentment builds to confrontation that leaves her confused and more angry.

There's a telling scene near the end of the movie when Streep confronts her daughter about her anger at her father. It is in this beautifully staged scene with Streep and Zelwegger playing superbly together, that the mother reveals to her daughter that she knows everything her daughter knows about her father. She has made her accommodations because that is what you do in a long marriage. She neither asks for her daughter's sympathy, or the audience's indulgence. She's not one of those embarrassed politician's wives who have been humiliated in public and then made to feel shame for sticking it out. She has created a loving home for her family. The mother in this film simply plays her part--as does her husband in this relationship. Streep is absolutely at her subtle best here, never never sacrificing the dignity of this dying woman. There could have been plenty of opportunity to go for the emotionally-charged big moment, but Streep refuses to ask us to feel sorry for her. She is totally in the moment of this character's situation and she's utterly fabulous. Zelwegger, an often outstanding screen actress who has become a bit mannered and fussy in her recent roles, shows how this character has matured through grief and anger, and as she begins to see just how great a mother she's always had, we share those revelations.

William Hurt doesn't flinch from this unlikeable character, and the final revelation is cathartic. He's never been my favorite actor, often taking on roles that are hard to like. But his work is rich in characterization and he never overplays or reaches for a cheap emotional payoff either. The role of the brother is not very detailed here, nor is Zellweger rather caddish boyfriend. It was nice to see the young Lauren Graham, playing Zellweger's best friend--her delightful Lorelai Gilmore persona in chrysalis.

In many ways, ONE TRUE THING is a throwback--an absorbing family drama full of words and emotions, a throwback to the era of the "woman's pictures" of the 30s and 40s. The three main characters never lose their focus. A very fine movie, well worth your time.
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Zellweger's finest hour
JaysonT17 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"One True Thing" is a very quiet film, that opened in the fall of 1998 to glowing reviews but mild box-office. It tells the crippled story of Ellen (Renee Zellweger), a workaholic who is forced to move back home to take care of her terminally ill mother (Meryl Streep), so that her aloof father (William Hurt) can run his academic department. These terms are only general. The strength of "One True Thing" lies in the way the actors elevate their characters above Hollywood cliché territory.

Streep is Kate, the perfect homemaker whose ability to light up a room with her charm is evident in her opening scenes at a costume party celebrating Hurt's birthday. But Ellen has never been close to her mother, and since she graduated from Harvard University, has a certain destain about her- Ellen almost thinks her mother is a simplistic air-head. While on the other hand, she admires her father- who shares a special passion: Writing. Ellen writes for an aggressive New York firm, and is almost heartbroken when her latest piece is torn down by Hurt, who seems to be a very lonely figure.

To get to the point, as Kate gets sicker, Ellen's perspectives change and she grows closer to her mother and more distant to her father. Hurt keeps making excuses not to be there when the family needs him most, and Ellen assumes he's having an affair. Meanwhile she's given up her desk at work to spend time doing craft activities with her mother's "cult" group The Minnies, and also learning that her mother isn't as weak as she first assumed.

Without giving too much away, "One True Thing" is a masterpiece in character study. Streep once again turns in a beautiful performance, this time working on a subtle level that starts slow but ends with a brilliant speech on the vows of marriage. Streep earned her eleventh Oscar nomination for this performance. Hurt is also convincing as the father who carries a secret that isn't revealed until the closing moments. But it is Renee Zellweger who steals this movie. Forget "Chicago", "Cold Mountain", "Bridget Jones's Diary" or whatever else you've seen her do and rent this movie. She is remarkable in it. Working within her character's bitter resentment at understanding her parents, Zellweger manages a realistic portrayal of a young woman fighting to keep her lip up while she's screaming inside.
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We have no right to ask for perfection
Nimbo4 September 1999
Meryl Streep as Kate, a woman dying of cancer, performs her role admirably. No wonder she was up for an Oscar. In the part she proves that caring and nurturing housewives are just as important as their sisters out in the business world. And the lesson she teaches about life's expectations and their lack of fulfillment as the relationship grows, that is the most important thing she teaches her daughter. We can expect too much of our mates. Realize that there are many slips and forgiveness or understanding are the main ingredients of a happy life. This is a sombre movie and the ending though sad, shows reconciliation between the father and daughter. I give this one a ten.
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Movie-1223 September 1998
"One True Thing" is the kind of movie where the audience is inspired greatly greatly inspired performances. I am not necessarily stating that the film is uplifting, because it isn't. In fact, the movie is down right depressing. I am trying to say that it takes a lot for a movie to generate emotional tears from an attending crowd.

I cried in "One True Thing," enough to conclude that this is one of the most emotionally powerful movies of 1998. The characters were perfectly casted. The performances are all guaranteed Oscar Nominees, especially Meryl Streep, who portraits the dying Kate extremely well. Her acting alone was enough to make the movie excel to the point of recommendation, and gives you a new point of view at her. I also thought that Renée Zellweger portrayed a realistic single, free-wheeling woman who has to take care of their own mother. The other cast members including William Hurt & Tom Everett Scott, were also superb. The script of this movie was really fantastic. It is kind of funny how the movie's concept has to do with the controversial happenings in my local area. You see, I live near Lansing, Michigan, and right now a big issue here is assistant suicide doctor Jack Kavorkian's (excuse my miss-spelling if so) ways have just been outlawed. The public will vote on this according to their beliefs in November After watching "One True Thing" it really changed my perspective at this topic, although I have always believed in it. Without revealing the ending of the film I will simply say that suicide is a distant theme in this movie and I think it fits in accurately with the gorgeous story. Overall, this movie does indeed have more emotional impact than "Titanic," "Saving Private Ryan" or any other tearjerker released in the last few years. I think that is because the main idea of this movie is that this kind of thing happened every day, so it relates better to an audience. And indeed, that this could happening to you.
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wrdiggs24 December 2000
The movies I enjoy most are the ones I can relate to, or at least identify with a character to the point I can be moved by what they are experiencing. Such is the case of ONE TRUE THING. I lost both my mother and sister to cancer and had the agonizing experience of watching them both deteriorate before the end came. Meryl Streep gives the greatest performance of her life as Kate Gulden, whose life has been totally dedicated to giving herself sacrificially to her family. Now, as this debilitating illness overtakes her, she can't accept the fact her family now has to take care of her. Yet, it is only in this transfer of power that her family comes to know and appreciate just how strong she really is. How Ms. Streep was overlooked by the Academy is beyond me. Perhaps it is, as another has said, we just take her great talent for granted. To watch her character change through the progression of her illness and the resulting chemotherapy was astounding to watch. She is truly one of the greatest actresses ever to grace the screen. Renee Zellweger is convincing as the daughter who is forced to come back home to care for her dying mother, who she has never been close to. It is a traumatic experience to, once you have worked so hard to earn your independence, have to return home to live with your parents again. Even Ellen Gulden is not aware of the family values that have been instilled in her by her mother but, although naturally rebellious at the thought, she is willing to give up her promising career as a writer for a New York magazine to take on this responsibility because "It's the right thing to do". This character trait is revealed again later in Ellen's pursuit of a hot story that could make her career--the expose of a Senator and former classmate at Harvard whose political career is in jeopardy because of a variety of indiscretions. Ellen gets the interview, but lacks the "killer instinct" to pull it off, knowing her article would ruin not only his career but his family as well. Renee turns in a really sensitive performance. Her comedic genius comes through as well in the scene where she attempts to make a luncheon for her mother's ladies' club meeting and nearly sets the kitchen on fire. For some reason, the women barely touch their lunch, but they are still so impressed by her efforts, they make her an honorary "Minnie". It is then Ellen's greatest fears are realized; she is starting to feel trapped in the very world she tried so hard to escape. William Hurt is the father and husband, George Gulden, literary professor at the local university, winner of the American Book Award. He is an intellectual giant whose acquaintances include some of the great authors of the day. He does not understand his wife's housekeeping and ladies' club lifestyle, but finds it a convenience to him and a complement to his own career. In literary circles, George is a master of words, but in communicating to his family, he suffers "inflammation of the sentence structure and hardening of the paragraph". George was Ellen's idol when she was growing up, but now, as an adult, she sees his vulnerabilities and cannot accept them. Ellen's entire work ethic was motivated by her dad, now he has become, in her eyes, weak and helpless in a time of crisis. ONE TRUE THING is a story of how a family, so diverse yet so much alike, can be drawn together by tragedy. In the end, they all learn to accept each other as they really are--flaws and all. The film and the characters all come across as very real and, yes I cried even though I'm a guy. Anna Quindlen's story is very moving and thought-provoking. The music in the film really helps to set the mood, the score by Cliff Eidelman, and a very beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" by the Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church Choir of Maplewood, New Jersey (the film was shot in and around areas of New Jersey, not in Langhorne, Pennsylvania). There is also a terrific song by Bette Midler, "One True Friend", sung over the ending credits. Some of those who leave a movie as soon as the last scene fades and don't stay for the credits don't know what they miss. Unfortunately, neither of these two songs are on the soundtrack CD. It could have been the greatest soundtrack of all time and they blew it. Bette's song is on her CD "Bathhouse Betty" for all you Midler fans who might be wondering. Nevertheless, ONE TRUE THING has become one of my all-time favorite movies.
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Main characters are all superb, drama that touches some real issues.
TxMike1 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
My comments may contain some SPOILERS so consider carefully whether you should read them if you have not seen the movie. George Gulden (William Hurt) is a literary professor and author, very disciplined, his wife (Meryl Streep) is not so intellectual, the daughter (Renee Zellweger) forms a closer bond with her father, the son with the mother. Even as a small child, while driving with the family, mother says 'look at those small cows.' Daughter answers, 'they are called calves', to set the tone for the daughter's disdain for her mother's limitations. The daughter grows up a Harvard graduate and a very aggressive investigative reporter in NYC.

A visit home, it is clear daughter still worships dad, seeks his writing advice, but minimizes interaction with mom, who is still mom. Then the news, advanced inoperable cancer, mom is dying, dad matter of factly tells daughter she has to quit her job and move home to take care of mom. Reluctantly she does, through a series of incidents gets to know mom and what a beautiful person she is inside, at the same time finding out things about dad that shatter some of her hero worship. Part of the theme is to learn to accept the faults of others, as mom had done with dad, and now daughter has to do with both mom and dad. Near the end, dad tells daughter after mom's funeral, 'I loved your mother, she was my one true thing." Thus the title of the movie.

Superb drama, with some of the best actors of our time.
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Screenplay doesn't give men a chance
dx-424 November 2000
It is the women who carry the honours here: Meryl Streep as a housewife dying of cancer and her long-suffering daughter (Renee Zellweger) who rises to the occasion to manage the household after being asked to by her father, university lecturer William Hurt.

But this screenplay doesn't give men a chance and the title, if nothing else, appears to refer to the fact that you can depend on women, but not on men.

For all the men portrayed in the film are failures in one way or another: from Zellweger's employer, who mistakes a request to attend to her sick mother as a bid for a promotion, to her brother who is a Harvard drop-out, to her boyfriend who forever seems perplexed when faced with Miss Zellweger's far-richer repertoire of emotions.

I suspect that this movie will strike a chord with women who find themselves in an unhappy marriage, or who have separated from a husband for it stereotypes the women as strong and ready to make sacrifices and the men weak, selfish and opportunistic.

Meryl Streep's and Renee Zellweger's performances carry this somewhat ponderous movie that runs its course gracefully through the seasons in New England to its rather downbeat conclusion, and while William Hurt is called upon to be shallow, he does this well in what is an undemanding role for him.
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Good portrayal of a family dealing with cancer
Ace-3813 September 1999
"One True Thing", at the beginning, is a hard movie to watch. Rene Zellweger's character is the penultimate bitch, cold and unfeeling, and very unlikeable. As are all the characters when you first meet them. Once you make it past the first, say half hour, this movie begins to overtake you quickly.

The storyline is basically this; a young, driven career woman is called home by her father to care for her aling mother, who has been stricken by cancer. Meryl Streep, who I normally cant stand, delivers a DEAD ON performance of a woman dealing with cancer. I personally lived this story back in '97 (my then wife survived, and remains cancer free to this day) and her performance was 100% accurate to what I personally witnessed.

William Hurt plays the father, who seems unable to cope with the fact his wife is dying. I too, lived that and can attest to the fact that the emotions and behavior portrayed were accurate.

"One True Thing" is at first, a test to get through, but if you fight through the will end up rewarded, as this is a first rate tearjerker.

4 out of 5
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Slow start, great finish
Sonnambula26 July 1999
I loved this movie. To be very fair, the movie starts off very slowly, with none of the characters being terribly sympathetic. It continues in this way for a good half of the film.

But, if you're patient, you'll be greatly rewarded. What the first half of the movie lacks in character development and/or sympathy is adequately compensated for in the second half. It's a bit like riding a roller coaster - a slow, uphill climb to strat off with, and then speed, twists and turns, and a few surprises.

As usual, Meryl Streep is wonderful. She is the finest actress of our time. William Hurt is good, if a bit wooden in spots. Renee Zellweger does a very good job, showing that her performance in Jerry McGuire wasn't a fluke.
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One Emotional Thing
SMGbuf4 July 1999
The film displays a family who, with the discovery of a mother's cancer, seems to be falling apart. Renee Zellwegger plays Ellie and her performance is worthy of an oscar. She shows a truly deep emotion, which the audience then feels. William Hurt palys the father and he seems to be a distant, stubborn, yet loving man. His performance is also good. The true thing though is Merly Streep as the mom, Kate Gulden who is dying of cancer. Meryl Streep does an astonishingly emotional, heartwarming, and heartwrenching performance that tugs at your heart and will surely have you believing and crying by the film's conclusion. It's dramatic, touching, and I think it should have been nominated for more awards. Streep should have won best actress because she'll definitely win over you. Also, some may see it as depressing, yet it can also be seen as uplifting. The family comes together and works through the hard times, some better than others. The exact conclusion tells of Kate's death, and it seems shocking and it makes you think. If your mother was dying of Cancer, would you be able to help her from her pain?
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amee9 February 1999
When this movie first came into theatres, whenever I saw a preview on TV, I would begin to cry. I then went and saw the movie, I cried for the entire movie and a period of time afterward.

Meryl Streep, what can I say? She is one of the best actresses in the world, and she again proves that in the movie. The rest of the cast is also amazing. Renee Zellweger is a wonder, and will rise to become a legendary actress. William Hurt is one of the most over-looked actors out there.

If you like sitting around for a couple of hours and crying, I recommend this movie!
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One True Thing, September 22, 1998
Scofe22 September 1998
One True Thing proves that it's the characters which make a movie. Streep will surely receive an Oscar nomination for her role. A beautiful drama, One True Thing is a prime example of movie-making in the late 1990's - there are still people out there who care about making and watching movies other than the big blockbusters with million dollar special effects. It's no Best Picture or anything... don't be silly. But the amount of emotion that was delivered by both the actors and the writer hit me like a shock-wave. I cried twice in this movie, which says a lot for a 24 year old man.
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