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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones portray long-lost brothers in this compelling and poignant family drama about a white Southerner whose identity is shaken after he learns that his natural mother was black. (MGM)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The film's premise is totally implausible yet great performances, directing and script allow us to transcend the concept of believability and enjoy nevertheless.
  2. 80
    The potential for hokum is there, but Duvall and co-star James Earl Jones capably avoid the sticky pitfalls of Tom Epperson and Billy Bob Thornton's sugar-cured script.
  3. In A Family Thing, an earnest upbeat fable about the meaning of brotherhood in America, first-rate film acting infuses a contrived story with enough flesh, blood, wrinkles, warts and beads of sweat to make it intermittently surge to life.
  4. The story is thin, but the film has rich emotions and a highly constructive moral sense, showing how racial divisions crumble once people recognize their artificiality.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    There is delicacy and restraint in all these performances as they ease a far-fetched premise toward believability under Richard Pearce's clear, cool direction.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    67
    Any other writers handed this premise would probably play it for cheap laughs, but Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson have made an earnest drama out of it, one lightened by a few affectionate laughs and much heartfelt sentimentality.
  7. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    40
    The handful of powerful speeches here do little, however, to offset story weaknesses that also include soft-edged characterizations, a faintly patronizing air regarding the black characters and a general avoidance of the issue most viewers will want to see addressed.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 3, 2010
    10
    A Family Thing is a great movie with a great cast. It's perfect for the sociology student. Just don't go looking for it at your local Blockbuster. This is one of James Earl Jones' and Robert Duvall's best movies. Don't miss it. Expand

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