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

Happy Christmas
Film Review: Happy Christmas

Joe Swanberg's latest feature is a collection of strong individual scenes and performances that never quite finds its statement of purpose. More »

Very Good Girls
Film Review: Very Good Girls

More of a meandering, misguided path than a road to hell, Naomi Foner’s directing debut, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as 18-year-old BFFs, is similarly filled with good intentions. More »

The Kill Team
Film Review: The Kill Team

Marine Adam Winfield goes on trial in a case in which U.S. soldiers murdered innocent Afghanis. Strong subject marred by poor narrative choices. More »

The Divine Move
Film Review: The Divine Move

Excessive violence and off-the-wall plotting undermine an intriguing game-based premise. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Hercules
Film Review: Hercules

Legendary strongman is caught in the middle of a brutal civil war in a fast-paced vehicle for Dwayne Johnson. 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