Marvin's Room
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -1

A prestigious cast, which includes three Academy Award winners, is featured in this heartfelt and often humorous drama, adapted by Scott McPherson from his acclaimed stage play. Diane Keaton plays Bessie, who for many years has cared for her father Marvin (Hume Cronyn), left bedridden and helpless by a stroke, along with her eccentric Aunt Ruth (Gwen Verdon). Bessie faces her own health crisis, however, diagnosed with leukemia by her mildly disheveled Dr. Wally (Robert De Niro). Her survival depends on finding a relative whose bone marrow matches her own, so Bessie calls estranged sister Lee (Meryl Streep), even though they haven't seen or spoken to each other in 20 years. While Bessie returned to their family home in Florida to care for Marvin after his stroke, Lee sprinted in the opposite direction and is now a single mother struggling to raise her two sons in Ohio. Teen son Hank (Leonardo DiCaprio) is especially troublesome, landing in a mental institution after he burns down their house. A reluctant Hank and younger brother Charlie (Hal Scardino) accompany Lee to Florida, and the sisters are reunited while necessary tests are made. As time passes, various chasms that divide this family are bridged. Bessie reaches out to Hank with a loving gentleness he has never known, while the sisters come to terms with their differences and the choices they made. With its powerful but not overwhelming lead performances, MARVINS ROOM is a tear-jerker that never feels manipulative. Even this film's most important decision is made in a subtle fashion, making it truly rewarding for audiences looking for an honest emotional experience.

For the most part this touching story is told without resorting to offensive elements. Unfortunately, Hank shows his rebellious nature three times by using obscene words. By igniting a pile of photos, he also deprives his family of their home. A few regular profanities also appear in the dialogue, and Lee is an addicted cigarette smoker. Bessie provides a shining example of sacrificial love, abandoning her own plans in order to care for her ailing father. Ultimately she reveals that her reward is sharing that love in return. If only the obscenities had been avoided, MARVINS ROOM would have been a real winner.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, New York, NY 10013

Crude Language: Once - Mild
Obscene Language: Few (3) times - s-word 2, f-word 1
Profanity: Many (12) times - Regular 3 (J 2, G-d 1), Exclamatory 9
Violence: Once - House fire caused by arson
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Many times - cigarette smoking
Other: None
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (