Monday, April 5, 2010

Inventing the Abbotts (1997) [R] ****

Doug Holt (Joaquin Phoenix) and his older brother Jacey (Billy Crudup) lived with their widowed mother (Kathy Baker) in small-town Haley, Illinois in 1957. As a child, Jacey had heard a story about Lloyd Abbott (Will Patton), owner of the town's office furniture manufacturing company, and one of the area's wealthiest men. The story was that, after their father had died in an accident, Lloyd Abbott had seduced their mother and had cheated her out of their father's valuable patent, a patent that later became the source of Abbott wealth.

Jacey harbored a deep-seated resentment toward Lloyd Abbott, and seducing his three beautiful and privileged daughters would be delicious payback. But, in fact, given Jacey's personality, if the Abbotts hadn't existed, he would have invented them. Bad-girl Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly) was as attracted to the handsome, sexy Jacey as he was to her, and she chafed under her father's restrictions. Good-girl Alice (Joanna Going), the eldest, was divorcing her husband, the son of a steel baron she'd married in a shotgun wedding; she was desperate, and an easy target for Jacey. But would Jacey also seduce youngest daughter Pamela (Liv Tyler)? Doug and Pamela had been close friends since they were children, and they loved each other deeply, although they had never expressed it.

Inventing the Abbotts is a poignant, character-driven romantic drama that shows how a life can be damaged by a lie, and how the maze of illusion created by that lie can drive someone to inflict injury and heartache upon innocent people. The story also contains some wonderful lessons about love and forgiveness. The screenplay, direction, casting, cinematography and editing are all outstanding, and while the ending leaves us contented, the path there is heart-wrenching. If you enjoyed films like About AdamHow to Make an American Quilt, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Little City, you might really enjoy Inventing the Abbotts. 

Labels: college, drama, romance, teenager    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 49/100     
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=54, viewers=64)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.