Movie Review

One True Thing

MPAA Rating: R for language

Reviewed by: Dave Simpson
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 8 min.
R

Starring: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham, Nicky Katt | Director: Carl Franklin | Writer: Karen Croner

Well, here’s a surprise—Meryl Streep was nominated again for Best Actress in 1998. This time the movie is “One True Thing”, a thoughtful tearjerker also starring William Hurt and Renée Zellweger, and it does indeed contain one of Streep’s strongest performances.

She plays a woman who has devoted her life to promoting writer/professor Hurt’s career. She has terminal cancer and daughter Zellweger (Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in “Jerry McGuire”) leaves life and job in New York City to return to the small town where she grew up and nurse her mother through the last days. At the movie’s core is the evolution of the mother/daughter relationship. Rather than simply playing for melodrama, this movie really does explore the complexities of family bonds and how part of growing up is seeing one’s parents as they really are, and learning to love them even when they don’t meet one’s childhood-formed images.

From a Christian perspective, this movie is extremely refreshing in that there is no sex or nudity. However, the “R” rating is due to sporadic outbursts of profanity including the “F” word on at least three occasions. While this was still offensive, at least the characters cursed only as a result of the great stress of the situation in which they found themselves, rather than out of habit or for effect as in some films. I appreciated the spirituality of this movie, including a scene in which Streep prays a children’s grace at Thanksgiving and is not made to look ridiculous. Although as in many movies I couldn’t help thinking, “These people would be a lot more at peace if they could find Christ,” this is a worthwhile movie for adults as it can be a catalyst for appreciating family relationships.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
“One True Thing” is, agreeably, a film that will make you think about the topics presented and feel for the characters involved… assuming you are able to stay awake long enough to reach the conclusion. The acting was strong, but the story seemed long.
—T.C., age 26