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One True Thing

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: One True Thing

Starring: Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger
Director: Carl Franklin
Rated: R
RunTime: 127 Minutes
Release Date: September 1998
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott, James Eckhouse



Review by MrBrown
3 stars out of 4

Although mine were a couple of the relatively few dry eyes left at the end of this adaptation of Anna Quindlen's tearjerking novel, I was not left untouched by this radical departure for director Carl Franklin (_One_False_Move_, _Devil_in_a_Blue_Dress_). After his homemaker wife Kate's (Meryl Streep) cancer takes a turn for the worse, English professor George Gulden (William Hurt) forces his daughter Ellen (Renee Zellweger) to leave her job as a big city magazine writer and become, in effect, nursemaid to her dying mother. The arc of the story is predictable, but only to a point; while familiar bases are covered (the never-close Kate and Ellen learn to bond; Ellen learns the importance of family over work), Karen Croner's script also has a surprising, and rather involving, mystery element to it, largely embodied by a framing device where Ellen interrogated by an investigator (James Eckhouse) for reasons that only gradually become clear.

But the true thing of _One_True_Thing_ is the acting, which is uniformly superb. The usually spacey (as of late) Hurt's uncharacteristically focused performance is a noteworthy achievement, but his effort is upstaged by the excellent mother-daughter duo. Zellweger and especially Streep both bring their roles to vivid life with a multi-dimensional blend of warmth, vulnerability, and underlying strength. While the whole of _One_True_Thing_ may not be deserving of such kudos, the actresses' exquisite performances are what Oscars are made for.

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