Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Perfect Family

This often amusing pro-gay comedy delivers a dysfunctional family and religious orthodoxy in extremis with a bright cast headed by a droll Kathleen Turner. Some savage digs at the Catholic Church won’t amuse everyone, but maybe a little of the Bernie magic will rub off.

May 4, 2012

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1334628-Perfect_Family_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Whether Anne Renton’s directorial debut falls into film’s gay ghetto will be interesting to follow, as The Perfect Family is a fun but often familiar ride into what first looks like typical Americana but is pretty messed up upon closer inspection. (Think more mellow John Waters.)

A “perfect family” here? Of course not, at least not according to religious-right and conservative American thinking that goes back forever. Rather, The Perfect Family’s brood is headed by devout, gung-ho Catholic matriarch Eileen (Kathleen Turner), who is determined to win the “Catholic Woman of the Year” title that her local parish is bestowing and that she has coveted for so many years. Her rival for the title is the equally eager-beaver Agnes Dunn (Sharon Lawrence). Clueless Eileen would probably bag it were it not for a few big family surprises she must confront: Her daughter Shannon (Emily Deschanel) is a lesbian who is about to marry her lover and give birth; her randy son Frank, Jr. (Jason Ritter) has ditched his wife and taken up with a manicurist; and hubby Frank (Michael McGrady) is a struggling alcoholic who walks out on her.

This is not the perfect picture to present to the visiting archbishop who will be integral to the selection of the honoree. As Eileen’s travails unfold, she remains close to Monsignor Murphy (Richard Chamberlain), a diehard Catholic who may or may not ultimately become an ally.
Eileen chills a bit after she meets Shannon’s lover Angela (Angelique Cabral) and her wonderful parents (Elizabeth Peña and Gregory Zaragoza). And she becomes more compassionate after real scares like Shannon’s near-miscarriage. Fortunately, The Perfect Family doesn’t really sell out at the end but makes a good case for people doing a lot more thinking about their dumb prejudices. Which does not mean that the film won’t annoy devout Catholic traditionalists mired in the old thinking.


Film Review: The Perfect Family

This often amusing pro-gay comedy delivers a dysfunctional family and religious orthodoxy in extremis with a bright cast headed by a droll Kathleen Turner. Some savage digs at the Catholic Church won’t amuse everyone, but maybe a little of the Bernie magic will rub off.

May 4, 2012

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1334628-Perfect_Family_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Whether Anne Renton’s directorial debut falls into film’s gay ghetto will be interesting to follow, as The Perfect Family is a fun but often familiar ride into what first looks like typical Americana but is pretty messed up upon closer inspection. (Think more mellow John Waters.)

A “perfect family” here? Of course not, at least not according to religious-right and conservative American thinking that goes back forever. Rather, The Perfect Family’s brood is headed by devout, gung-ho Catholic matriarch Eileen (Kathleen Turner), who is determined to win the “Catholic Woman of the Year” title that her local parish is bestowing and that she has coveted for so many years. Her rival for the title is the equally eager-beaver Agnes Dunn (Sharon Lawrence). Clueless Eileen would probably bag it were it not for a few big family surprises she must confront: Her daughter Shannon (Emily Deschanel) is a lesbian who is about to marry her lover and give birth; her randy son Frank, Jr. (Jason Ritter) has ditched his wife and taken up with a manicurist; and hubby Frank (Michael McGrady) is a struggling alcoholic who walks out on her.

This is not the perfect picture to present to the visiting archbishop who will be integral to the selection of the honoree. As Eileen’s travails unfold, she remains close to Monsignor Murphy (Richard Chamberlain), a diehard Catholic who may or may not ultimately become an ally.
Eileen chills a bit after she meets Shannon’s lover Angela (Angelique Cabral) and her wonderful parents (Elizabeth Peña and Gregory Zaragoza). And she becomes more compassionate after real scares like Shannon’s near-miscarriage. Fortunately, The Perfect Family doesn’t really sell out at the end but makes a good case for people doing a lot more thinking about their dumb prejudices. Which does not mean that the film won’t annoy devout Catholic traditionalists mired in the old thinking.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

BBoy for Life
Film Review: BBoy for Life

The dancing is familiar but the stakes are higher in this moving documentary set in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world. More »

Manakamana
Film Review: Manakamana

An observational documentary in which the camera captures the passengers of a cable-car cabin in Nepal. More »

Visions of Mary Frank
Film Review: Visions of Mary Frank

Deeply loving, if too slight, documentary about one of the great beauties of the New York art world, who always forged her own path. More »

The Jewish Cardinal
Film Review: The Jewish Cardinal

Informative, absorbing, but as obvious as its title and a bit too glib for its own good, this French import will appeal mainly to religious addicts fascinated by the feverishly agenda-ridden internal workings of the Catholic Church. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Rio 2
Film Review: Rio 2

Busy sequel to the popular animated feature follows the original's blue macaws on a journey from Rio de Janeiro to an endangered rainforest. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here