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07.13.2000

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flick pick | One True Thing 1998
Directed by: Carl Franklin
Written by: Karen Croner, novel by Anna Quindlen
Starring: Renťe Zellweger, Meryl Streep, William Hurt
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama
Watch it when youíre in the mood for something:
quintessentially quasi-adult
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Ellen Gulden (Zellweger) is an ambitious, New York journalist on her way up in the world. That is, until her father, a respected English professor and novelist, guilts her into coming home to help take care of her homemaker mother whoís just been diagnosed with cancer. Ellen, who never wanted to be like her mother, slowly learns the household duties and is even inducted into the neighborhood housewives group. Her anger grows for her father, however, who doesnít seem to take any responsibilities. In the process, she risks her career, as well as her relationship with her boyfriend, but learns some valuable lessons about life and family.

Review I know Iíll hear it from my fellow Y-chromosomers for this. Yes, Iím a guy, and yes, Iím recommending this movie. Sure, it has Meryl Streep. Sure, she plays a woman with a terminal illness. But itís not your typical Meryl Streep movie about a woman with a terminal illness. Itís really Zellwegerís movie -- a young woman dealing with a radical life change -- and itís actually good. Good, you say? Yes, good. Perhaps not for those looking for Friday night bubble-gum fare, but rather for those 20-somethings who may be going through some life/career/family reassessment. Iíd say that fits you, Mr. and Ms. Digs Crowd, whether youíre coming out of college and fretting about career...or realizing after years of number crunching that you donít want to be an accountant...or wondering when family might fit into your 5 year plan...or your girlfriend just dumped you for one of her co-workers who you always suspected but never said anything so as not to upset her with that guy-jealousy thing but now wish you had because now sheís kissing Patrick instead of me and eating at our favorite restaurants while I wallow in the deep misery of MY despair!! Or something like that (call them "pre-life crisis" moments, as weíre not really into mid-life yet). I didnít rent it and I probably wouldnít, but Iím glad I saw it, considering my current life reassessment. It starts slow, but there are plenty of genuine human characters, not to mention a mind-boggling twist ending that rivals The Sixth Sense and Crying Game. OK, maybe not that mind-boggling. But if youíre in a pre-life crisis and itís on TV...watch. ó reviewed by Steve Loh 

Steve Loh writes in LA. Prior to that, he held every odd character-building job between college and grad school and life, including temping, driving a schoolbus, substitute teaching, and being a birthday party clown for the kids of rich Hollywood folk. Barney was his least favorite costume and, unfortunately, the most requested.  

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