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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent family drama
Kindly Bessie (Diane Keaton) has devoted her life to caring for her ailing father with no help from her estranged sister, Lee (Meryl Streep), the black sheep of the family. But now, Bessie is gravely ill and needs Lee's help.

I usually don't care for Diane Keaton's acting, but I did like her in this role. She plays an utterly selfless woman who could easily...
Published on Jan. 23 2009 by Kona

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Performances In A Good Movie
This movie is based on Scott McPherson's off - Broadway play. It has been turned into a wonderful little movie. A movie that is sort of one of those lost gems. Meryl Streep heads an impeccable all star cast as a woman who comes back in contact with her long estranged sister, played by Diane Keaton. Keaton's character has been taking care of her and Streep's very old and...
Published on Jan. 28 2002 by Barry


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Performances In A Good Movie, Jan. 28 2002
This movie is based on Scott McPherson's off - Broadway play. It has been turned into a wonderful little movie. A movie that is sort of one of those lost gems. Meryl Streep heads an impeccable all star cast as a woman who comes back in contact with her long estranged sister, played by Diane Keaton. Keaton's character has been taking care of her and Streep's very old and very ill father(played so realistically by Hume Cronyn). Keaton's character then finds out that she has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. The only donors that can help are Meryl and her wayward kids(headed by the solid Leonardo DiCaprio). Meryl and the kids head down to Florida where Keaton is and, well, they bring along some of their own little dysfunction. The movie is sad, but not in the ball your eyes out way. It avoids the usual scenes of death beds and a huge dying scene. None of that is here. The movie is about the family, and the two estranged sisters coming together. Not to mention Meryl's character coming to terms with her son Hank(Leo). The film definitley hits some emotional highs, but it's not, as I've said above, the usual way we've seen it a hundred times before. Robert De Niro appears in a fairly small role as Keaton's character. He also co-produced the film. Our main stars here all shine brightly. Keaton is great, as always. Meryl and Leo makes their characters believeable, if not very sympathetic. In the end, it's Keaton who shines the brightest. Marvin's Room is a nice family drama that was horribly overlooked and forgotten by most people. Give it a chance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent family drama, Jan. 23 2009
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Kindly Bessie (Diane Keaton) has devoted her life to caring for her ailing father with no help from her estranged sister, Lee (Meryl Streep), the black sheep of the family. But now, Bessie is gravely ill and needs Lee's help.

I usually don't care for Diane Keaton's acting, but I did like her in this role. She plays an utterly selfless woman who could easily have been cloying, but was instead, quite sympathetic and noble. Streep does her usual expert job, playing a woman who won't win any Mother of the Year awards. And DiCaprio, looking very young a year before Titanic, steals all his scenes as a dangerous teen who hates his mother so much he burns down the house.

This is a poignant look at illness and dying through the eyes of three very different characters. I was sorry it ended so abruptly without resolving the story, but that makes it feel even more real. This is a movie I'll want to watch again when I'm feeling blue; it will help me keep things in perspective and remind me what's really important.
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4.0 out of 5 stars DEEPLY MOVING ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS, April 2 2004
By 
Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Instead of the usual over-the-top heavy-sentiment scenes in a dysfunctional family, Marvin's Room finds a clever, non-contrived way to end by leaving its characters at a magical moment of mutual understanding. It is one of the most powerful endings I've ever seen in a film.
Greatly acted by almost everyone (including a very young Leonardo Di Caprio), great score, excellent screenplay, a tinge of wry humor through it all, and gutwrenching emotion.
I picked up the DVD for Streep, and found her character a little one-dimensional. But when I really think of it, the most remarkable thing about the film is how it reveals how similar the two sisters are, despite their non-trivial character differences. Both abandon one part of their family to sacrifice for another part -- they each merely take different parts, and that's why Lee's character is not as bad, selfish or one-dimensional as she first seems. Lee's problem was understanding love. Despite all her lovers, Lee (Streep) had to learn the real meaning of love from her spinster sister Bessie (Keaton).
Worth buying, as anyone with a heartbeat will watch this gem more than once. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars DEEPLY MOVING ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS., March 31 2004
By 
Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Close to a perfect movie as you can get. Instead of the usual over-the-top heavy-sentiment scenes in a dysfunctional family, Marvin's Room finds a clever, non-contrived way to end by leaving its characters at a magical moment of mutual understanding. It is one of the most powerful endings I've ever seen in a film.
Greatly acted by almost everyone (including a very young Leonardo Di Caprio), great score, excellent screenplay, a tinge of wry humor through it all, and gutwrenching emotion.
I picked up the DVD for Streep, and found her character a little one-dimensional. But when I really think of it, the most remarkable thing about the film is how it reveals how similar the two sisters are, despite their non-trivial character differences. Both abandon one part of their family to sacrifice for another part -- they each merely take different parts, and that's why Lee's character is not as bad, selfish or one-dimensional as she first seems. Lee's problem was understanding love. Despite all her lovers, Lee (Streep) had to learn the real meaning of love from her spinster sister Bessie (Keaton).
Worth buying, as anyone with a heartbeat will watch this gem more than once. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Emotional Rollercoaster, July 29 2003
By 
Lisa Siegel (Cincinnati, OH) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Marvin's Room" is not only a wonderful movie that has both comedy and drama, but it has an excellent cast. I was very surprised that it wasn't nominated for Best Picture at the Oscar's. Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep shine as two sisters who have not seen each other in twenty years. Their bond is very easy to relate to. And then you have Leonardo DiCaprio (beofre "Titanic"). He is wonderful as Hank, the older son of Lee (Streep). You can tell that he wants attention, mainly from his mother who has her sights set on other things. Bessie (Keaton), in a very moving and loving way shows Hank that he is loved, by his mother and by herself. I thought that the car-ride by the water was wonderful. It showed the two of them bonding, which is what they do more and more as the film progresses.
Gwen Verdon is wonderful as the absent-minded Aunt Ruth who really brings a lot of comedy into the movie. Hume Cronin was simply wonderful, even though he didn't have any actual speaking lines, his actions throughout the movie seem to bring the disfunctional family together. Robert DiNero plays the very kind Dr. Wally who also brings a sweetness into the film. But the person who, in my opnion, really shines in this film is Diane Keaton. She has a rare talent and it definitely shows in this movie. The ending was so wonderful as well. I am glad that they ended on a positive note instead of a sad one. My advice: Rent this movie!!!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Story-Telling, with a Beautiful Cast, July 9 2003
By 
L. Piatkowski "lpiatk1" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Dying, aging and dysfunctional famlies are subjects that do not prompt much laughter, but "Marvin's Room" a film, based on the stage play of the same title, manages to mine together those issues along with discussion of sibling rivarly, love and friendship, and the end result is a lovely film, low on schmaltz and sacharine, and high on intelligence and class.
Streep and Keaton play sisters who have been alienated for much of their adult lives, and are reunited when Keaton's Bess is in need of a bone-marrow donation. Streep's Lee comes with her children, and is also reunited with her father, Marvin (a stunning Hume Cronyn), and dotty aunt (a glittering Gwen Verdon). Leonardo DiCaprio (pre-TITANIC) plays Lee's rebellious surly teenaged son. DiCaprio one of Hollywood's brightest, but most unused talents gives a performance of vulnerability, passion and beauty that one can't help but make favorable comparisons to James Dean or Montgomery Clift. Streep is predictably good-though she doesn't seem to connect to her character, as well as her co-stars do. Keaton does the near-impossible in this film-she steals it from Streep. Her Bess is not saint, but Keaton manages to glow, regardless. Actually both DiCaprio and Keaton outshine Streep. Their chemistry is beautiful. Keaton's appearence is stunning because, while attractive, she allows herself to be transformed into a dowdy Florida hausfrau. Ravaged by illness, age and weary, Keaton looks as if Annie Hall went through a hell of a mid-life crisis. Yet, by the end, when the genuine goodness of Bess shines through, and the viewers realize that Bess feels lucky that she was able to take care of her bed-ridden father, Keaton becomes beautiful.
Robert DeNiro has an amusing bit part as a forgetful doctor in one of the film's many amusing comic reliefs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply unforgettable, Aug. 12 2002
By 
Dogville (Sunny Island) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
I have watched this movie at least three times and everytime, it doesn't fail to move me. It's a rather underrated movie except for the Oscar nomination for Diane Keaton who shines supremely as a luekemia-striken woman caring for a vegeatated father and an absentminded aunt whose on a pacemaker.

Diane's only hope is a match in her sister Meryl Streep and her sons. But Streep is a woman who's faced with a broken marriage, a rebellious elder son and worst of all, an estranged relationship with her family.

When tragedy strikes and she is being called home, she learns to re-assess her life pirorities as well as learn new things about her sister (and family) that she's never known before. Through all these, an amazing bond takes place between her elder son, Leonardo Di Caprio and his aunt, Diane Keaton. An unforgettable scene was when DiCaprio's character took his aunt on a wild car-ride in the sea that sealed their bond.

The story of initial despondence and eventual hope and reconciliation is nothing new but what works here is the amazing acting (especially by Diane Keaton and the funny doctor played by Robert De Niro who also produced the movie), and poignant direction.

Give yourself the chance to be touched by the wonders of human relationship.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lee, Marvin and the Gang! (No, not a review of "Dirty Dozen", Feb. 1 2002
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Occasionally, I like to create my own at home "double features." My most recent was "Streep Weep Night" with MARVIN'S ROOM and ONE TRUE THING on the bill. It was heavy going at times, but I survived. Conclusions: Meryl is a fine fine actress; and she desperately needs to do something totally crazy and out of character soon. Meryl, sweetie, have your agent call the Coens--or the even Farellys for that matter.
Actually, MARVIN'S ROOM IS a little bit on the quirky, black humored side. But ultimately, it's still a melodrama about two estranged sisters (Streep's Lee and Diane Keaton's Bessie) who reunite in a time of crisis. That's a plot outline we've all seen a couple of hundred times before. Where MARVIN differs a bit is in the wacky humor and the slightly off-kilter perspective it brings to the classic dysfunctional family drama. Ultimately, that's the film's saving grace. As others have noted, it may not be "wildly funny" but it does have enough humor to leaven the dramatic bread.
And it has Diane Keaton who is a past master at mixing the sublime and the ridiculous. I understand that the ever generous Meryl Streep actively promoted Keaton's Best Actress Oscar nomination in '96, saying that she felt that it was Keaton who carried the movie. Actually, they're both wonderful. And Gwen Verdon, Robert DeNiro and, yes, Leo himself are all in fine form here. Only poor Hume Cronyn doesn't have much to do in the title role (I mean Marvin--not the room).
It's not a great movie, but it is an feast acting-wise, and for that I'm grateful. But it's just quirky enough to make one wonder why Streep doesn't do something really offbeat for a change. (Were SHE-DEVIL and DEATH BECOMES HER such negative experiences?) She should at least consider working with Woody again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable movie, Jan. 17 2001
By 
Jessica (The Bay State) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Most of the reviews of 'Marvin's Room' I've read online all mention Leonardo DiCaprio and how cute he is, how much he is loved, and how he acted wonderfully in the movie. I can't say I don't agree- he adds flavor to the movie and pulls off a very convincing act of a troubled boy. But the floor belong to Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. I can't think of better actresses for this movie than these two- they're beautiful together. The movie is handled in a dramatic light; from the beach scene to the darkened scene where Bessie tells the story of her dead boyfriend. I don't think there's a better movie of family dysfunction.Most movies on family dysfunction end badly and disappoint me greatly. But this movie is a positive one, and ends in one of the best scenes I've ever seen. Here you have two sisters who haven't seen each other in like twenty years, and suddenly they reunite because Bessie needs a bone marrow transplant; otherwise she'll die. From that, they embrace each other hesitantly but surely; they realize of their love for eachother. They all depend on each other and grow from each other. Lee is someone with lost hope; and Bessie is the one who restores it.You can almost see Bessie's rare spirit reaching out and touching everyone around her. My favorite scene is when Lee convinces Bessie to take off her wig so she can cut it. Of course, anyone's got to feel embarassed if their wigs have to come off in front of anyone; let alone someone you haven't seen for 20 years. But Bessie takes it off with courage and hope; you can totally see it. Keaton was completely magical in this one; she has rare talent. Bessie was the only one emitting hope and triumph in the face of death; and everyone around her began to feel it also. This person is someone I could never be. I admire this character. The final scene... whoo! The rays of light bouncing off the walls seem to be a representation of heaven and love. They all knew Bessie was going to die. This scene is handled with such finality. I would have much preferred the movie end this way than seeing Bessie die. This family is dysfunctional, but this family also experienced love and courage. To be completely honest, I was stunned into dead silence for the first ten minutes after the movie ended. Then I rewound the movie and started watching it again. I couldn't get enough of this exquisite movie. It's much more than a movie- it's pure reality and imagination combined. This movie is proof that people like Bessie exist. Keaton definitely deserves the Academy Award nomination. Hell, she should have won it! I love her. I love this movie! Go see it immediately!You won't regret it--trust me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars NOT an ordinary movie, Nov. 12 2000
By 
Randolph Bradley "RBJ" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Marvin's Room (Widescreen) (DVD)
Of course, the LEO lovers are going to hate this . . . but, not even his pretty face and character-style acting could harm this movie. I think only a handful of guys have reviewed this film, which means a majority of the reviewers are affected primarily by Leo DiCaprio's good looks. I have seen a few of his movies, and they all portray rebels; this is probably because that is what he is (essentially he plays himself). Nevertheless, Dicaprio excels at that persona. The audience becoming emotionally carried away with a leading actor is what studios gamble on, and some gamble that the movie itself is a work of art. So, what makes MARVIN'S ROOM delightful is its simplicity in defining love. This movie is made up of the most ordinary things: family dysfunction, disease, bitterness, frustration, disappointment, fear, the family next door. Keaton's realization/declaration of her life's blessing is superb cinema, because this is what I feel creates the most fulfilling life experience: not being loved but loving. And boy does she love those around her with the strongest commitment. The apt title MARVIN'S ROOM is eloquent in that it defines Keaton's dedication by her tireless display of refracted light all over the walls for Marvin's profound amusement, which is reward enough to Keaton. She effectively turned what would be a prison to the average person into a family room. Also, I believe her greatest fear of death lies in worrying "What will happen to Marvin?" Thankfully, Streep is drawn, at first against her will, into the peace, love and fulfillment of Marvin's Room from her whirlpool of ambition (it's Keaton's incredible effect/change on DiCaprio's character that is the catalyst). Streep is just getting her degree and hopes for big time freelance work! But, she actually allows both ambition and fear to take second place as she falls into a role of responsibility. Carly Simon's end-title song "Two Little Sisters" is the cinematographic element that pulls everything together into an excellent film. All that may sound mushy, but the song is like a poem and, thus, becomes part of the dialogue. I think this song combined with the last scenes provoke wistfullness. One sister dreamed of going to the other side of town; the other to the stars. However, in the cold night when lights go dim and dreams seem old, each would come home to the other. This summarizes all that is good about this movie. Now, LEO lovers, it is possible for a movie with him in it to be good based on filmmaking and not pretty hair.
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Marvin's Room (Widescreen)
Marvin's Room (Widescreen) by Jerry Zaks (DVD - 2001)
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