Beth Pinsker
March 25, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

One True Thing

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
127 minutes
performer
William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott, Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger, Patrick Breen, Lauren Graham, Nicky Katt
director
Carl Franklin
distributor
Universal
author
Karen Croner
genre
Drama

We gave it a B+

Cancer creeps up quickly on the Guldens of Langhorne, Pa., but that isn’t the biggest dysfunction in the house. Streep’s wacky mom, in a noble performance that earned her an Oscar nomination, is the kind of woman who collects the shards of broken plates to make a mosaic tabletop. Brittle daughter Ellen (Zellweger) thinks her mother is ridiculous and models herself instead after her emotionally distant father (Hurt, in an intense performance) — that is, until Dad makes her come home from New York to starch his shirts and get Mom through chemo. This rental weepie is manipulative, to be sure, but — with its strong cast of actors, the fine pedigree of Anna Quindlen’s 1994 novel, and the sure hand of director Carl Franklin (”Devil in a Blue Dress”) — still a winner.

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