|legeros.com > Movie Hell > 1998 > Reviews|
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 min.) 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.