|Michael A. Maynez|
"One True Thing"
Carl Franklin's direction evokes a triumphant film, out of Anna Quindlen’s novel, with an excellent script by Karen Croner. The minute details of the everyday bits of living, gives Meryl Streep an opportunity to shine resplendently in the role of the humdrum of a housewife whose whole life revolves in making her family happy and having a wonderful household to upkeep. Her husband played by William Hurt, who is a professor, of American lit and National Book Award winner, is probably the best role to come along in sometime for this great thinking actor, he manages to balance the emotionalism between the mother-daughter relationship beautifully. A difficult task considering that Renee Zellweger plays the daughter who painfully seeks approval from her renowned father and for awhile ignores the love that her mother offers so fully.
The brother, Tom Everett Scott brings a freshness with his genuine love for his sister and parents, his role in the movie is limited to playing just one brother, as the movie script has cut out the other brother that was in the novel. When Streep develops cancer, Zellweger is more or less shamed by her father to come and take care of her mother. A line in the dialogue says it beautiful, about how she feels,” The one thing I never wanted to do was live my mother’s life.” But she does stay to minister to her mother’s needs, first against her mother’s wishes and much later with equal bonding from both of them. Little by little she begins to realize that her father isn’t that man in the pedestal and that he clay selfish feet start to show up more and more.
The holidays are beautifully covered from Holloween; Thanksgiving to Christmas as Streep’s cancer begins to take a toll. Much to Streep’s credit is her performance of a very pedestrian housefrau, it is not the showy roles of previous performances in her career, but she brings an honesty and dignity to this ordinary role. Perhaps the incredible restraint that Carl Franklin used in not making the sensationalism that the book’s ending made of the District Attorney’s investigation, is really a credit to him. Somehow, he just manages to gloss over that part with disdain.
Yes, this is the tearjerker, you have been waiting for, unlike “Simon Birch”, who tried too hard, this one really involves you and touches your heart, at a time of so much violence, it is nice to bring out the hankies.
One True Thing
Meryl Streep ------------ Kate Gulden
Renée Zellweger -------- Ellen Gulden
William Hurt ------------ George Gulden
Tom Everett Scott ------- Brian Gulden
Lauren Graham --------- Jules
Nicky Katt ------------- Jordan Belzer
James Eckhouse -------- District Attorney
Patrick Breen ---------- Mr. Tweedy
Gerrit Graham --------- Oliver Most
Directed by ------------- Carl Franklin
Produced by ------------ Beaton, Harry J. Ufland
Executive producer ----- Leslie Morgan, W. Wilson III
Assistant directors ------ Sam Hoffman, Jono Oliver, Dale Pierce Nielsen
Camera ----------------- Declan Quinn
Costume Design by ----- Donna Zakowska
Editor ------------------- Carole Kravetz
Written by -------------- Karen Croner
Based on novel by ------ Anna Quindlen
MPAA Rating R