6.7/10
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73 user 46 critic

Marvin's Room (1996)

PG-13 | | Drama | 28 February 1997 (USA)
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After 20 years caring for her father, woman with cancer now must re-connect with her trashy sister and nephews she's never met after being diagnosed. Her love helps the angry teen nephew, and her sister learns to relate to people.

Director:

Jerry Zaks

Writers:

Scott McPherson (play), Scott McPherson (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Lee
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Hank
Diane Keaton ... Bessie
Robert De Niro ... Dr. Wally
Hume Cronyn ... Marvin
Gwen Verdon ... Ruth
Hal Scardino ... Charlie
Dan Hedaya ... Bob
Margo Martindale ... Dr. Charlotte
Cynthia Nixon ... Retirement Home Director
Kelly Ripa ... Coral
John Callahan ... Lance
Olga Merediz ... Beauty Shop Lady
Joe Lisi ... Bruno
Steve DuMouchel ... Gas Station Guy (as Steve Dumouchel)
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Storyline

Estranged since their father's first stroke some 17 years earlier, Lee and Bessie lead separate lives in separate states. Lee's son, Hank, finds himself committed to a mental institution after setting fire to his mother's house. His younger brother, Charlie, seems unfazed by his brother's eccentricities or his mother's seeming disinterest. When Lee comes to the asylum to spring Hank for a week in Florida so that he can be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Bessie, Hank is incredulous. "I didn't even know you had a sister," he says. "Remember, every Christmas, when I used to say 'Well, looks like Aunt Bessie didn't send us a card again this year?'" "Oh yeah," Hank says. Meanwhile, Marvin, the two women's bedridden father, has "been dying for the past twenty years." "He's doing it real slow so I don't miss anything," Bessie tells Dr. Wally. In Bessie's regular doctor's absence, it has fallen to Dr. Wally to inform Bessie that she has leukemia and will die without a bone marrow ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the people you know the least...are the ones you need the most! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marvinova soba See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,739, 22 December 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,782,508, 20 April 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro; and one Oscar nominee: Hume Cronyn. See more »

Goofs

The position of Hank's arm with potato chip changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bessie: Uh, Janine, I wonder if you could tell me how long I might have to wait, because I left Aunt Ruth at home in charge of dad, and...
Janine: You'll have to see Doctor Wally, because Doctor Serrot is on vacation.
[finishes typing "I quit" letter]
Bessie: See "Doctor who"?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank ... the staff and guests of Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida, ... the residents and staff of The Florida Manor Nursing Home ... See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.130 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
Written by Fred Gilbert (uncredited) and Roy Wooten
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better Than It Should Have Been
16 June 2009 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

This stage to screen adaptation about two estranged sisters attempting a reconciliation after one is diagnosed with cancer is sentimental to the extreme, manipulative beyond forgiveness.....and had me close to blubbering like a baby by the time it was over.

Chalk it up to the fact that I had recently lost a grandmother to cancer, but this film nearly devastated me even as I was mad that it was so maudlin. The fact that it works as well as it does is due largely to the fact that such good actors are cast in it. Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton play the sisters (Keaton is the ill one), and while it would never have occurred to me to put these two actresses together, the decision was inspired. And right before he rocketed to international fame, Leonardo DiCaprio does strong work as Keaton's troubled nephew.

I won't even try to defend this film against those who say it's too schmaltzy to bear, but please let the rest of us enjoy it in blubbery peace.

Grade: A-


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