This movie should be reviewed for its great performances from some of the best actors today. Meryl Streep does not fail to shine out as one of the best actresses of all time as an emotionally distraught mother in this tale of hopes, emotions and intense feelings. Keaton, on the other hand portrays her best performance ever, and Leonardo DiCaprio proves that he has talents besides being a heartthrob. This movie really moved me, not because of the story itself but the acting was very realistic....I believe that they all should have received an Oscar nomination. Well done!
Keaton/Streep Melodrama (by mrcaw1)
Marvin's Room 1996 Dir: Jerry Zaks Finally a movie of substance that harkens back to Keaton's earlier successes. Keaton co-stars with drama heavyweight Meryl Streep as two estranged sisters who reunite to deal with Keaton's recently diagnosed leukemia. Keaton's character is hopeful that Streep or one of her two screen sons can be a bone marrow donor for her and thereby possibly save her life. Meanwhile, Keaton has been caring for the sister's long suffering and long dying father, Marvin Hume Croyn . Adding a little box office punch to the flick is current heartthrob <more>
Leonardo DiCaprio as one of Streep's "problem" boys. Though the plot reads like melodrama, and to an extent it is, the movie is fairly subtle and unexpected in its story line choices. If nothing else, one doesn't have the feeling that the writers wrote the screenplay over beers and an episode of Married with Children.Nominated for Best Actress, Keaton gets to present a more controlled and quiet persona than she usually displays. Streep is typically fine as a used to be good time girl who finally is about to graduate out of beauty school and is having trouble dealing with her sick sister, her dying father and her whacked-out teen son. Definitely worth a view if for no other reason than to fill in the missing Keaton and/or Streep movies you may have missed. And gosh, doesn't Leo look cute!
It's Never Too Late To Mend Broken Relationships Until You're Gone (by Chrysanthepop)
Scott McPherson adapts a beautiful screenplay from his own play. 'Marvin's Room' could have easily been just another one of those sentimental disease-of-the-weak type TV films but McPherson stays true to the story injecting it with a delightful dose of humour. The film focuses on broken relationships and how it's never too late to take the step to mend them until you're gone. The execution is simple and that works very well. The score is in sync with the flow. The writing is beautiful. The dialogues are cleverly written.Diane Keaton is marvelous in a role that could have <more>
easily turned out to be a cliché if it were played by a lesser actress. She plays her part naturally with a quiet and yet layered restraint. Meryl Streep does a fine job as the slightly more rebellious and estranged sister who had escaped from having to take care of her father and is proud of her diploma. Leonardo Dicaprio isn't bad either. Robert De Niro is great in a more laidback role. He also reveals a flare for comedy. His scenes with a splendid Dan Hedaya had me laughing. Gwen Verdon is a delight and she provides excellent comic relief. Hume Cronyn doesn't have a scene out of bed but he definitely makes the viewer take note of his performance.My favourite scene is towards the end when the two sisters chat in the kitchen. Keaton's Bessie may have been 'consumed' by taking care of her ailing father and aunt, not 'leading' her own life like the typical American woman but the amazing thing is that she doesn't regret it because she is proud that she has given them so much love and that she can do the same now with her sister and nephews. Then there's the ending which is superbly done. You're left wanting to know how these wonderful characters are doing but at the same time one can acknowledge that it's the best way to end.
The screenplay is really the star of this film. (by xavrush89)
It's such a wonderful story, not at all as dreary as one would expect. The late Scott McPherson injected so much humor and heart into this film, it's hard not to just go along with it. Diane Keaton got the Oscar nomination, but Meryl Streep's character drives the film, as she works her way back into a family she turned her back on so she could have a life of her own. She was right to do so, as her sister Keaton has become consumed with caregiving for her father and aunt, taking absolutely no time out for herself. The film also features a nice departure for Robert De Niro from <more>
his typically heavy roles. That alone is worth seeing, and fans of his typical performances should be forced to watch this.This quiet film may not have enough action for some, but it is far better than most films dealing with serious illness. The journey these sisters begin is something that has been explored in countless TV movies think Lifetime , but what separates it is the humor and the character development that makes the viewer wish he/she could stay and watch the family long after the film ends. The film also benefits from the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, who gives an unlikely nuanced performance as the older son who develops some character and helps his flighty mother grow along with him. The great thing about his presence in the film is that younger viewers mostly female, probably will be more likely to see this movie and get something out of it in the process.Finally, a word about Gwen Verdon and Hume Cronyn. Their contributions to this film are immeasurable. And as already mentioned, it's great that younger viewers can watch this film and get a last look at them in these touching roles and see how charm never fades with age. Cronyn has little to do but lie ill in bed, yet somehow his character remains a focal point. And Verdon's comic relief pairing with the younger son is a real highlight. She also manages a poignant moment or two in a her scenes with Keaton. This truly is an ensemble piece, and it wouldn't have been without their talent. Why I don't yet own a copy of this sweet film is a mystery.
Reuniting Dysfunctions Under One Roof (by nycritic)
We were raised under the lie that families are and should be the epitome of perfection. Ozzie and Harriet. The Bradys. The Nelsons. However we all know that this is never the case and more often than not a trivial incident is the dividing moment where siblings decide to go their separate ways, and this is the case here: two sisters have been estranged for about twenty years. Bessie has stayed with her parents and has taken care of them while Lee has pursued her own interests with a marked selfishness that hides an inability to cope with familial duty and in the interim she has raised two boys <more>
of her own. Now, father Marvin is ill with senile dementia and can barely muster words. Bessie has been diagnosed with leukemia and her chances of survival depends on a bone marrow transplant and only her estranged family can give her that. And on top of this, Lee is having her own trouble with her oldest son: Hank just burned their house down and landed in a mental institution, so the thought of traveling down to Florida to visit Bessie seems less than welcome and more than an inconvenience.Bessie and Lee's reunion is appropriately awkward and filled with tension that is simmering under the surface, ready to explode at any time. Like enemies they circle around each other throwing their personalities at each other and there is a confrontation scene that is inevitable but doesn't quite resolve anything. I was reminded of Ingmar Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS, in which two sisters and a maid were taking care of their third sister who was dying, each of them with their own baggage of self-hatred and inability to love and be open. Jerry Zaks' film is not that deep or stylized nor does it intend to be. His is an honest, straightforward examination on Scott McPherson's stage play about the shadow of death lingering over one family and occasionally lapses into humor with its supporting characters. That works well, because to make this a heavy-handed meditation of death, especially when three of its characters are on the brink of it, would be asking too much for its audience. Only its implied nature is seen here but its effect is no less devastating, even if glimmers of hope seep through the fabric of this family and makes its bond tighter.Being a slice of life story, characters are on center stage at all times so they must be defined through their tempers. Lee is quite a shrill woman who throughout her stay at her parents' seems on the brink of just grabbing her things and driving as fast as she could and could be a version of any of the healthy sisters in the Bergman film. Meryl Streep takes on the role against her ethereal type and uses her body language and strong voice to convey a loud woman who needs so much reassurance that she can't see a little thing as family getting in the way. On the other hand, Bessie is closer to the maid's character in CRIES AND WHISPERS, and Diane Keaton's portrayal is quiet, thoughtful, and on rare occasions only hinting at her own terror as her illness progresses.The third actor who reveals himself here is Leonardo diCaprio. He plays the troubled son Hank and his interactions are mainly with both sisters. Watch his body language with both: whenever he's with Lee he's angry and borderline threatening. I get the hint that even when the credits are over, they will always have a brittle relationship, and this is due to Lee's own selfishness. Meanwhile, Hank and Bessie break the ice and in one touching scene share a drive on the beach. Their childlike laughter speaks volumes of what their relationship would have been had there never been an estrangement. Leonardo DiCaprio tackles the role with intensity and urgency and there are a couple of moments when I thought he might resemble James Dean without the pout but the sheer anger.MARVIN'S ROOM doesn't try to give simple answers; after all, all families have dysnfunctions, but instead is like a canvas that reveals itself for the many layers of dynamics between its players and does so in an uplifting manner, much like the beautiful moment when Bessie and Lee witness Marvin's delight in seeing a display of light coming from a mirror Bessie is holding. It's a quiet moment, one of intense love, that shows the power of family despite the odds, and what better way to end the film with Gwen Verdon's last line? Hope is all around.
I happen to rank this movie as one of Leo's finest. It is definitely not as main-stream as his others, but the content and the acting was brilliant. I am a sucker for movies about dysfunctional families and this one takes the cake. It was so human...there was nothing "Hollywood" about this at all. Each character has their own emotional turmoil and when Lee comes down with Hank and Charlie, the characters are forced to come to terms with it. Leo delivered a stand-out performance in a cast of film legends. Meryl Streep is also wonderful as Lee, the self-centered mom who left her <more>
This family put the "dys" into "dysfunctional". (by llltdesq)
This is really the little movie that could. It is a very good film that likely got made only because Robert DeNiro co-produced it and thus had the clout to raise financing. With a script at different turns funny and wrenching and an exceptional cast that by and large does a great job playing a family that occasionally makes the Addams family look mundane, particularly Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Am I the only one who's noticed that DiCaprio does his best performances in little films read: small-budget that make up for limitations by, wonder of wonders, good scripts and perhaps <more>
more challenging roles. He can act; all too often he doesn't seem to want to from his selection of parts. Yes, I am talking about Titanic. Good movie, even if it isn't going to save the ozone layer or bring about world peace. It is an entertaining way to pass not quite two hours and it does have Hume Cronyn, whom I'd gladly have watched reading a newspaper and drinking coffee, he was so good. Well worth seeing. Recommended.
Oh what a difference a screenplay makes!!!! (by Conork2)
I came across this movie on Netflix and thought I would give it a go! Surely a movie with Meryl Streep and Dianne Keaton wouldn't disappoint! It sure didn't! While the story has been done before in various formats it's the screenplay that makes this movie a real gem. The main three actors really do a great job. But with Streep, Keaton and DiCaprio one would expect nothing less. For me the the late Gwen Verdon steals the show. she really shows how comedy should be done. The scene with the orange is one that stands out. A mixture of comedy and heart wrenching reality showcases how <more>
underrated she has been. This for me should have definitely gained a nod in any supporting actress awards. This movie certainly won't change your life but it really does provide you with food for though about love, family and the importance of life! Give it a go. It won't disappoint.
This film is one of the most i have ever seen! (by estefania_tapia2002)
This is one of the most touching film ever and I thought it was a brilliant film. It's basically about two sister who have never spoken to each over for 20 years. Bessie is played by Diane Keaton who looks after her illed dad and her aunt and is diagnosed with cancer and needs a bone marrow. While the other sister who's called Lee played by Meryl Streep who lives with her two son. The oldest is called Hank who's played by Leonardo DiCaprio and the youngest is called Charlie played by Hal Scardino. Bessie need some one to donate a bone marrow out of her family and decide to call <more>
Lee and asks her to help her. While Lee son burns the house where his mum and brother live he is taken to the mental hospital where his mother Lee visits him and takes him with her to visit his aunt Bessie. When Lee arrives with her two sons Hank and Charlie, Bessie feels like she has missed ever having children but bonds well with her nephew Hank but Lee notices how they bond together like mother and son and feel a bit jealous. But when they go to the hospital so they can get checked to see if they can save Bessie there we start to think who will save her or will she die.....