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Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa will graduate from college—decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family's history and relationships come to light. (FSI)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 14
  2. Negative: 5 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 13, 2011
    75
    Instead of concealing it, I'll just come out and say that I find it difficult to be enthusiastic about this well-acted and gracefully directed movie, but for reasons that might be called philosophical.
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 12, 2011
    58
    An ending that suggests reconciliation and forgiveness isn't just unearned, it's bewildering, given the wretched behavior we've seen; it implies that the entire story was filtered through some unidentified unreliable narrator who wanted to take the higher ground while still harboring a serious grudge.
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 19, 2011
    50
    The resentments acted out at the dining table by the rest of this miserable family - gathered for a graduation celebration that turns into a wake - are so oppressive that Eugene O'Neill might ask, ''Too much?''
  4. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    Oct 10, 2011
    40
    Clumsy melodrama, which looks and sounds no better than an average made-for-cabler.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
    Oct 10, 2011
    40
    As tales of troubled families go, it may have aspirations to be like "Ordinary People," but it falls way short.
  6. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 14, 2011
    25
    A dispiriting rehash of dysfunctional family clichés that seems to last longer than Thanksgiving Day dinner.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Oct 11, 2011
    20
    Despite an A-list roster, the performances are universally one-note, a fact largely attributable to a script overflowing with blunt dialogue and heavy-handed symbolism.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 2, 2012
    10
    This is a rather sloppy movie about a dysfunctional family headed by a demonic turn by Willem Dafoe and abetted by a an unusually tame Julia Roberts. Dafoe's father psychologically traumatizes his son, while Roberts flits around mewling but not interfering. Her anger only shows when she finds out Dafoe is unfaithful. She is killed in a car accident and the family is gathered for the funeral. The son is grown, and yet Dafoe keeps harping away. But the son may have revenge: he has just finished an autobiography about his family and Daddy, a famous writer himself, will be skewered. This is where it gets really sloppy. Emily Watson plays the son's childhood friend and sole soul-mate. Now she is distant and critical of him, and we are given no reasons as to why. His ex wife (ex alcoholic) shows up (Carrie Ann Moss) and soon they are shagging upstairs noisily while the funeral reception tries to go on downstairs. Father is mortified but everybody else just giggles. In the end Dafoe gets a by as the son gets religion and burns the book. Nothing is done with Roberts enabling mother role. A sister gets mostly ignored, and in the end they all sit around watching home movies and lo and behold we see Dafoe actually acting like a real Dad. Do we care? We do not. Expand
  2. Mar 3, 2012
    9
    If Terence Malik had been listed as the director the critics would have been all over this piece claiming it was brilliant. My complaint was the ending which signified some type of reconciliation but even with the possibility it didn't really state emphatically that everything had been fixed. The performances are all excellent. Yes it's family dysfunction at it's best but the actors pull it off quite well. Just as the critics got so much wrong this year they got this one wrong as well. Expand
  3. May 19, 2012
    5
    Interesting movie, I don't like this genre. A little tangled story, i don't understand at the beginning, why he hided the glasses. but not bad movie.