If you want a non-Hollywood look at families then watch Ron Howard’s (The Da Vinci Code, Cinderella Man) Parenthood. They are messy, always battling, inappropriate, loving, funny, and always learning how to become closer as a family. The acting ensemble on the film is quite large and everyone has a unique character. There is definitely someone in the film that you can relate to. This ability to relate is due to the fact that the film is very realistic. Even though the characters are all slightly exaggerated nothing happens in the film that seems completely impossible. Because it isn’t trying too hard it all comes off as natural.
Particular attention is paid to the art of parenthood. It is the most difficult job in the world and it there in all its permeations and glory onscreen. We all get a better idea about what tough yet rewarding job it is with the film. There is no perfect way to raise kids and mistakes will be made. For the parents in audience the film will certainly give you a sense of ‘been there done that’ and happy that you are not the only one. The mix of comedy and drama will make you laugh one moment after you cry. It is that type of film.
Three generations of the Buckman family are struggling to hold it together. Gil Buckman (Steve Martin – Bowfinger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) is married to Karen (Mary Steenburgen – The Brave One, Elf) and he is trying to be the type of father that his own father was not. He is striving to be supportive and always there for his kids. As he has a few, including one who is emotionally handicapped, this is easier said than done. Helen Buckman (Dianne Wiest – Dan in Real Life, I Am Sam) is a single mother who is struggling with a daughter (Martha Plimpton – Running On Empty, Dante’s Inferno) on the verge of becoming and adult and a son who is withdrawing from the family. Susan Buckman Huffner (Harley Jane Kozak – Arachnophobia, When Harry Met Sally) is married to Nathan (Rick Moranis – The Flintstones, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) and has a young daughter who he wants so much to succeed that he is smothering her. Frank Buckman (Jason Robards – Magnolia, Enemy of the State) is the patriarch of the family who is finding himself in his later years still having to do some parenting of his irresponsible adult son, Larry (Tom Hulce – Fearless, Amadeus).
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