Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 75
    The film, directed by Daniel Sullivan, is brave, I think, to offer us a complicated scenario without an easy moral compass.
  2. This sensitive, sometimes troubling family drama is one of the rare movies dealing with intelligent adults tackling lifelike problems.
  3. The film, to its credit, never tries to pluck your heartstrings. As it follows the Geldharts around New York, they are figures in a meditative dialogue on human values that reaches no easy conclusions.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    In an era when films reduce the aged to comic cranks, Rifkin is heroic--the Lear of grumpy old men.
  5. Consequently, your reaction to the film will pretty much hinge on your opinion of the play. Ho-hum is my humble verdict.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff(not credited)
    Daniel Sullivan's earnest adaptation of Jon Robin Baitz's play is worth seeing for Ron Rifkin's performance alone.
  7. But as Isaac, Rifkin is simply transcendent, giving what is the most accomplished performance of the year. He does not, however, have a completely successful movie around him.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Faires
    The screen version feels like a rewrite made to make the tale more palatable to the "mindless moviegoing masses," which prompts the question: Is the film a truer vision of Baitz's tale of an uncompromising man or a version in which the truer vision was compromised?
  9. 50
    Aside from a powerful performance by Ron Rifkin (reprising his stage role) and a few quietly effective scenes, there's not much reason to subject yourself to a film this off-putting.
  10. First-time film director Sullivan draws good performances from Goldwyn, Hutton and Parker, as well as Debra Monk, Elizabeth Franz and Eric Bogosian in minor roles.
  11. In the case of Jon Robin Baitz's script, adapted from his play, in spite of the fact that he made considerable alterations in the text to open it up to cinematic possibilities, the movie disappoints in much the same way the play did.
  12. Reviewed by: Lloyd Rose
    The whole thing plays like some dreadful masochistic, self-pity fantasy.
  13. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    But what presumably was powerful in Jon Robin Baitz's play has been diluted in opening it up for the screen.
  14. Reviewed by: Denise Lanctot
    Rifkin's descent into madness is Shakespearean in scope, but the rest (except Parker) are precious. Fire? Duraflame. [18Jul1997 Pg.90]
  15. But despite a compelling opening, as a movie it loses focus and purpose as it proceeds.

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