Directed by Garry Marshall
Story by Alexandra Rose, Blair Richwood
Screenplay by Bob Brunner, Garry Marshall
Starring: Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, Hector Elizondo
Carla (Lewis) might be mentally challenged, but she’s got the same ambition as her sisters. Now she’s pushing her parents (Keaton, Skerritt) to help he leave the nest. With each new opportunity, Carla is looking for the independence her overly protective parents have denied her.
This is an emotional drama based on the story conceived by Alexandra Rose (Hot Potato) and Blair Richwood (Overboard). The pair developed the story alongside Bob Brunner (Exit to Eden) and Garry Marshall. Marshall (Valentine’s Day) would eventually take on the role of director for this movie. The cast of the film features Oscar winner, Diane Keaton (The Godfather). She’s joined by Juliette Lewis (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?), Giovanni Ribisi (Cold Mountain), Tom Skerritt (Ted), and Hector Elizondo (Runaway Bride).
This is an emotionally driven story that looks at the gray area that people with mental challenges face in their desire for independent living. The writing does a nice job of providing all sides of the question without being too broad. The characters are all interesting, although some of them come off as a bit vanilla. This is also true of the dialogue, which seems to be too predictable at the important moments in the film.Some of the writing also seems a bit too on the nose when it could stand for a little more subtlety.
The strengths of the writing are the emotional moments written for Lewis and Ribisi. A lot of this should be attributed to their performances, but the writing is great. The challenge of writing a film like this is maintaining the dignity of the characters. The old stereotypes are not tolerated when it comes to people with disabilities. Thankfully, the film does justice to the challenges of the characters. This isn’t all feel-good and happy. There are some intense and painful moments built into this story. The story isn’t great, but it’s a solid drama that holds up nicely after more than 15 years.
Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, and Hector Elizondo all do great work with their roles in this one. Their performances help to highlight all of the different points of view the people in the story have on some of the big issues. While the story can be predictable, the acting brings this up to a higher level.
This is a solid movie that deals with material that might not have a broad appeal. The acting is great, and fans of the stars should make sure to check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of movies like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and I Am Sam. This touches on sensitive subjects without being disrespectful to the people who live with these challenges. It’s an emotional drama with heartwarming moments and painful twists. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.