Parenthood (1989)

After watching this movie I realized something: BEING A PARENT BLOWS!!!!

Middle-manager Gil Buckman struggles to reconcile his ambitions at work with his loyalty to his family, particularly to his troubled son, Kevin. His divorced sister Helen has a sullen and withdrawn son and a sexually active teenage daughter. Gil’s other sister, Susan, is a school teacher married to an ambitious yuppie determined to make a genius of their 3-year-old daughter.

This is a wonderful look at the joys and pains of being a parent, and in ways a child. The film is told through each of the family members all episodically. The film with such a large ensemble of characters still does well with telling each characters story.

The screenplay is something of praise too. Its witty and used in ways that aren’t always happy-go-lucky and in some ways they have a little bit of a darker side to it other than a full sitcom resolution. It always show that in life you never fully get free and there is always a toll to pay for what you have in your own life.

The ensemble cast does very well at delivering the emotion that each of these characters are feeling at that exact moment. Steve Martin is hilarious but also shows some heart to his family and the troubled people around him. Mostly, I think Dianne West steals the show and I could feel her raw emotion and personally she did show the most heart when it came to doing what was right for her family. Mostly because of her (and a little bit of Keanu Reeves) I found her story more entertaining than the others.

Though at points I didn’t find myself fully entertained. I thought it lagged on too bit with the drama and focused away from the comedy element. I understand they were trying to show the dark side of life, but they shined away from the light side and thats what in ways fully lost my attention in full.

Though it is not too great it is still a classic, its more of an ambitious, keenly observed, and often very funny look at one of life’s most daunting passages. Being a parent has its highs and its lows and that is what this film shows.


One comment

  1. I like this movie very much. First time I watched it I was not yet a parent. Watching it again as a parent opens my eyes to things I didn’t see before.

    Every time I watch the scene where Frank Buckman sits Larry, the prodigal son, down and explains his plan to pay his gambling debts and give him a job, and Larry accepting his father’s proposal at first and then saying there’s just one more thing he needs to try out before putting Frank Buckman’s plan to action, I want to just reach through the screen, grab Larry by the neck and yell, ‘Don’t you understand what’s happening here?? What’s wrong with you??’

    And Frank lets him go. And I just want to scream, ‘NO! Don’t let him go!!’ But then I realise that Larry isn’t ready to Come Home and that letting him go is probably the best thing.

    And when Cool asks, ‘Will [my father] come back?’ Frank very honestly says, ‘No.’ And Frank adopts Cool.

    Gets me every time.

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