out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
One True Thing
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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