Marvin's Room

Marvin's Room

4.0 3
Director: Jerry Zaks

Cast: Jerry Zaks, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton

     
 

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Two sisters try to set their familial differences aside -- one in hopes of saving her own life -- in this drama with comic accents. Bessie (Diane Keaton) has lived in Florida for the past 20 years, where she's been caring for her chronically ill father Marvin (Hume Cronyn) and her Aunt Ruth (Gwen Verdon), who does not seem well aquatinted with reality. While Bessie's… See more details below

Overview

Two sisters try to set their familial differences aside -- one in hopes of saving her own life -- in this drama with comic accents. Bessie (Diane Keaton) has lived in Florida for the past 20 years, where she's been caring for her chronically ill father Marvin (Hume Cronyn) and her Aunt Ruth (Gwen Verdon), who does not seem well aquatinted with reality. While Bessie's life has not been easy, she feels that it's rewarding in its way, and she's come to love her father very much. However, when Bessie is diagnosed with cancer, she's told that the only treatment likely to save her would be a bone marrow transplant from a close relative -- which leads Bessie to contact her sister Lee (Meryl Streep) for the first time since their father fell ill. Bessie and Lee have a number of issues with each other that they've never resolved, many concerning their responses to Marvin's illness (Bessie rushed to his side, while Lee preferred to stay away), and Lee's own life has been difficult. She's gotten herself out of a bad marriage, has only recently started supporting herself as a beautician, and has to raise two kids on her own. Ten-year-old Charlie (Hal Scardino) tries to simply ignore the chaos going on all round him, while Hank (Leonardo DiCaprio), a troubled 17-year-old, was recently institutionalized after burning down the family's home. As the straight-laced Bessie and the earthy Lee reestablish contact after two decades, they discover just how much emotional ground they have to cover before they can meet on common ground. Robert De Niro appears in a supporting role as Dr. Wally, Bessie's physician. Marvin's Room was based on the stage drama by Scott McPherson, which opened in 1990; McPherson himself was critically ill at the time -- he died two years later from complications relating to AIDS.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
Based on a highly successful off-Broadway play by Scott McPherson, this respectable film adaptation overcomes its familiar, TV-movie terrain to eventually become a heartfelt tribute to family ties and the prospect of death. In a wonderfully reversed casting scenario, Meryl Streep plays the cigarette-smoking, brash sibling of Diane Keaton, who is beautifully restrained as the older, quieter caretaker figure. Actually, the film is superbly cast all around, with Leonardo DiCaprio quite affecting in a supporting role, and Hume Cronyn providing a strong portrait of old age and mortality without having a word of dialogue in the entire picture. The film at times struggles to break out of its stagebound nature, but the high-caliber performances and sensitive direction by Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks lift it up considerably. Despite Streep's much-showier role, the Academy rightfully nominated co-star Keaton, for what might be her finest work to date.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/03/2011
UPC:
0096009759490
Original Release:
1996
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Miramax Echo Bridge
Time:
1:40:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Meryl Streep Lee
Leonardo DiCaprio Hank
Diane Keaton Bessie
Robert De Niro Dr. Wally
Hume Cronyn Marvin
Gwen Verdon Ruth
Dan Hedaya Bob
Hal Scardino Charlie
Margo Martindale Dr. Charlotte
Cynthia Nixon Retirement Home Director
Chad Dowdell Delivery Guy (uncredited)

Technical Credits
Jerry Zaks Director
Todd Scott Brody Executive Producer
Jim Clark Editor
Robert De Niro Producer
Tracy Doyle Set Decoration/Design
Craig Gering Associate Producer
David Gropman Production Designer
John Guare Associate Producer
Scott McPherson Screenwriter
Danny Michael Sound/Sound Designer
Bonnie Palef Co-producer
Rachel Portman Score Composer
Peter Rogness Art Director
Jane Rosenthal Producer
Scott Rudin Producer
Adam Schroeder Co-producer
Ellen H. Schwartz Asst. Director
Piotr Sobocinski Cinematographer
Ilene Starger Casting
Lori Steinberg Executive Producer
Julie Weiss Costumes/Costume Designer
David Wisenievitz Co-producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Marvin's Room
1. A Lot of Blood [8:47]
2. Sunrise City [4:47]
3. No Smoking [7:53]
4. Sister Lee [6:40]
5. Family Reunion [8:36]
6. Visiting Dad [7:57]
7. A Match [8:07]
8. Assisted Living [6:44]
9. Telling the Truth [5:37]
10. Sisters [8:39]
11. Disney World [4:56]
12. Scared to Sleep [4:06]
13. Someplace Else [5:40]
14. Where You Goin'? [4:10]
15. Just Us [5:26]

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