One True Thing (1998)

Much to my surprise, I can both recommend and rather enjoyed ONE TRUE
THING, an exceptionally tasteful drama about an up-and-coming Manhat-
tan writer (Renee Zellweger) who moves back to her homey home town to
help her cancer-stricken mother (Meryl Streep).  The catch?  Mom is a
perpetually sunny Martha Stewart-type whose lack of sophistication
and relentlessly unconditional love drives her daughter nuts.  Worse,
the shadow of an overly critical, overly literate father-- William
Hurt's college professor-- still looms large.  Based on Anna Quind-
len's 1995 novel, Karen Croner's screenplay deftly explores several
complex family issues, while also sustaining a nifty, low-key air of
mystery.  (The film's framing device involves Zellweger's character
being questioned by the local D.A.!) Jaunty humor abounds as well,
though the story *does* gets more gravely serious as it goes.  (The
second hour is particularly make-up intensive.) Steep is great, as
expected, delivering a marvelously multi-faceted performance as the
Homemaker From Hell.  (And she's a sharp cookie, as her daughter is
all too slow to discover.) Zellweger shows off a few good chops, her-
self.  Too bad her pouty facial features suggest someone who, well,
seems always about to bawl.  (Eh, with some actors you make conces-
sions.  Bab's nose... Arnie's accent...  Renee's mouth...) William
Hurt is quite good, no surprise there either, and Tom Everett Scott
(AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS) capably rounds out the ensemble as
the college-aged brother.  The biggest kudos, however, are deserved
by director Carl Franklin (DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS), who wisely re-
frains from any easy manipulations.  No swelling strings or schmaltzy
histrionics in this one.  Hell, even with a Bette Midler song on the
soundtrack, you never once want to vomit.  Bravo!  (Rated "R"/127

Grade: B

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Lips, Inc.

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |   Links   |   FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros