Our perceptions of who our parents are and the roles they play in our lives are strongly set during childhood but can sometimes be skewed. Ellen (Renee Zellweger), a New York journalist, is forced to reexamine her parents’ roles when she grudgingly goes back home to take care of her mother, Kate (Meryl Streep), who is battling cancer. Her father (William Hurt), an author who she idolizes, has little time for her or his wife, while Kate’s work as a housewife and volunteer are more difficult and important that Ellen had realized. The movie turns weepy at the end, but avoids excessive sentimentality. In examining the relationships between parents and their adult children, it is one of the better domestic dramas of late.
One True Thing***
published September 5, 2000