Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora's interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
A little heavy, but with astonishing performances.
A well-observed, well-made drama (with occasional comedic moments), that may not be exactly "high art" (it's neither profound nor original), but DOES feature some great acting and manages to pull you in.
Debra Winger gives an extraordinary performance; she has a naturalness and expressiveness that you rarely see on the screen. When her character is happy, her whole face brightens up and her joy becomes infectious; when she's sad or confused or embarrassed, the emotions come across strongly, although she never goes over the top. Considering that she lost the Oscar to her co-star, Shirley MacLaine, who is reasonably good but far more one-note, I'd say we had a major Academy Award injustice there. Jack Nicholson is fun to watch and has some amusing lines, and most supporting roles, like those played by John Lithgow and Danny De Vito, are also first-rate and completely believable.
So overall it's a good film, directed almost flawlessly, although in the final 20 minutes it needlessly wallows in melodrama. (***)
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