.

One True Thing

Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger, William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham

Directed by Carl Franklin
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 18, 1998

Meryl Streep, remarkable as always, enters this too-tidy tearjerker on a welcome comie note. Dressed as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, complete with ruby slippers, Streep's homemaker, Kate Gulden, is throwing a literary costume party for her professor husband, George (William Hurt). George, a pig — along with most of the males in this film of Anna Quindlen's 1994 novel — treats Kate with benign contempt. So does Daddy's girl Ellen (Renee Zellweger), visiting the burbs from her job as a Manhattan journalist (Quindlen was once a New York Times columnist), Dad and daughter take mom for granted.

Not for long. When Kate is diagnosed with terminal cancer, George orders Ellen to leave her job and move home to care for her; the big man on campus can't take time off from quoting himself and boffing coeds. Ellen learns much about Kate and herself during her time as a caretaker, and these scenes — vividly realized — ring truer than anything else in the film (Quindlen left college for a year to care for her dying mother).

Streep and Zellweger nail every laugh and tear as Ellen wakes up to the crimes perpetrated on Kate in the name of feeding the mouths of ungrateful children and the ego of an unfaithful husband. But then Karen Croner's script, following the novel, pours on the contrivances, including charges of a mercy killing, Even director Carl Franklin, an artful purveyor of sterner stuff in One False Move and Devil in a Blue Dress, can't prevent One True Thing from descending into chick-movie hell.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com