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MARVIN'S ROOM

SYNOPSIS:
Years ago, the lives of the fiercely independent Lee (Meryl Streep) and her older sister Bessie (Diane Keaton) went in different directions. Bessie returned to the family home to look after her bedridden father Marvin (Hugh Cronyn) and his eccentric sister Ruth (Gwen Verdon). Now, diagnosed with leukemia by Dr Wally (Robert De Niro), Bessie’s survival depends on finding a relative whose bone marrow matches her own. Lee, a working single parent, is struggling to cope with a rebellious teenage son Hank (Leonardo DiCaprio), who has landed in a mental institution after burning down the house. Hank becomes the bridge for the coming together of the two sisters, who have never been able to communicate. A film about selflessness, that through its humour and love, brings lightness to the darkest places.

"Like the flickering light in a mirror, Marvin’s Room sparkles as an emotionally fulfilling film with wonderful, uplifting elements. It is a beautifully made film which exemplifies the richness of the human spirit though complex characters as diverse as the north and south poles. Scott McPherson has written a witty and sensitive screenplay, where laughter and tears are a hair’s breadth apart. It is rich with warmth, texture and sheer humanity. Many of the laughs come from McPherson’s sense of the ridiculous - there is a certain irreverence apparent through much of the film. What he does so cleverly is bring significance to insignificant things. The performances are simply outstanding. Meryl Streep brings the brittle, cold character of Lee to life, as she develops her emotions and vulnerability. Diane Keaton’s performance as Bessie is glowingly worth her Oscar nomination. She shows us her soul with a warmth and sincerity that flows effortlessly. Streep and Keaton are superb together: their acting styles complement each other, and the resulting emotional gust is hugely satisfying. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a great performance as Luke, the angry teenager who is out of control; Robert De Niro is delightful as Dr Wally, a role which is a great surprise. He incorporates humour verging on slapstick, in what would traditionally be a serious role; Hugh Cronyn has great presence as Marvin, and Gwen Verdon is wonderfully eccentric as Ruth, who delights in dressing up to watch her TV soap. The film’s very essence is told in song through Carly Simon’s poignant lyrics when the credits roll at the end of the film. ‘Two little sisters…who would guess we’re from the same family…my love will be your remedy.’"
Louise Keller

 

"The most interesting aspect of Jerry Zaks’ Marvin’s Room, an intimate exploration of familial sacrifice and love, is observing three terrifically gifted performers, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, effectively submerge their idiosyncratic talents and personas in an effort to portray ordinary, down-to-earth individuals. ….True collaborating, rather than competing (as could be expected), Keaton and Streep render brilliant performances. Part of the joy derives from watching how the two thesps, who have never acted together before, use different techniques that ultimately complement each other. Streep works at her role from the outside in, mastering the details of voice, movement, facial expression. Keaton, in contrast, is an instinctive actress who makes her lines sound more spontaneous. Rest of the cast is flawless, including a back-in-form DiCaprio as the troubled teen who hits it off with his aunt…."
Emanuel Levy, Variety

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Keaton and Streep;superb together


Meryl Streep as Lee


Robert De Niro as Dr Wally

MARVIN'S ROOM (M)15+
(US)

 

CAST: Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Verdon and Robert De Niro;

DIRECTOR: Jerry Zaks

PRODUCER: Scott Rudin, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro

SCRIPT: Scott McPherson (based on his stage play)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Piotr Sobocinski

EDITOR: Jim Clark

MUSIC: Rachel Portman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Gropman

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 1, 1997







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