Susan Granger Reviews - 07/05

The Perfect Family - Sincerely Sympathetic

Whenever devout Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner) must face a personal problem, she dutifully turns to the teachings of her Church. "I don't have to think - I'm Catholic," she explains. But when she learns that she's a finalist for the parish's "Roman Catholic Woman of the Year" in Chester, the small, New Jersey town in which she lives, Eileen's simplified world becomes fraught with chaos.

Bookmark and Share

The Perfect Family - Sincerely Sympathetic
(Variance Films)

Obsessed with the promise that the coveted award carries with it a Promise of Absolution for all past sins, she's absolutely determined to win over her sanctimonious, longtime rival, manipulative Agnes Dunn (Sharon Lawrence). But that's not going to be easy since Eileen must invite visiting Irish Bishop Donnelly (Hansford Rowe) to her home to meet her family, supposedly a perfect model of Catholic morals and values.

"There's nothing wrong with me," Eileen reasons. "I need my family to behave the way they're supposed to."

But Eileen's husband Frank (Michael McGrady), a good-natured fireman, is a recovering alcoholic. Her lesbian/lawyer daughter, Shannon (Emily Deschanel), has just announced that she's been artificially inseminated and is pregnant and planning to marry her live-in partner, Angela (Angelique Cabral), whose gracious mother (Elizabeth Pena) is disarmingly welcoming to the Clearys. And at the same time, Eileen's firefighter son, Frank Jr., (Jason Ritter) has abandoned his wife and two kids to pursue an affair with a Protestant manicurist (Kristen Dalton).

Sketchily and shallowly scripted by Claire V. Riley and Paul Goldberg and unevenly helmed by debuting director Anne Renton, it's crackling good dramedy when Kathleen Turner is center-stage as the suburban matriarch battling for prim propriety. Casting out-of-the-closet actor Richard Chamberlain as Monsignor Murphy is obviously indicative of where the filmmakers' sympathy lies insofar as the relevant clash between Catholic orthodoxy and gay rights.

FYI: There is no Promise of Absolution. There is only the Sacrament of Penance after a Roman Catholic confesses sins and receives absolution from a priest.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Perfect Family" is a sincerely sympathetic 7, as faith triumphs over religion.

By Susan Granger, © 2012

Comment Using Facebook


Latest Movie Reviews
By Harvey Critic

Member NYFCO
At the movie's conclusion, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) states: "We've had life for a billion years. Now we know what to do with it." What does she think we should do with our lives? Presumably we should be able to stare at a gun and watch the bullets fall out harmlessly to the ground; look at a bunch of gangsters pointing AK-47s at us and have them drop their pieces and fly to the ceiling flaying impotently' conjure up dinosaurs and disappear just as they are about to gobble you up; and drive effortlessly down a one-way highway while watching cars pile up helplessly. In other words, while you may think that Lucy, who is steadily able to raise the capacity of her brain from the usual, human 10% to 100%, will be able to solve a Rubik Cube in 15 seconds, complete a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in indelible ink, or memorize 154 theorems in minutes without ever taking high-school geometry, Lucy's brain is completely different. Sure, she probably could learn to speak French with a Montréal accent if she should get the strange notion to do so, but writer-director Luc Besson has other plans for this brainiac. She has the powers of a superhero: she can exercise telekinesis by moving objects and people from one place to another by simply willing it, can take a quick look at the unspoiled U.S. when Native Americans ruled the land, and touch the forehead of a famous scientist to discover that his six-year-old daughter had died in an auto accident. What's more she can look at an X-ray of a person on an operating table, discern that he has advanced, incurable cancer, and shoot the poor fellow because "he could not possibly survive anyway."

Arizona Newsroom
Pushing the boundaries of classical ballet, Spain's emerging choreographic powerhouse Alejandro Cerrudo presents Off Screen, a dance inspired by film. It's sexy and modern with eccentric moves. Ib Andersen showcases the elegant and intricate Symphonie Classique with costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz,and Indigo Rhapsody, an arresting and athletic ballet danced to Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host six public open houses where constituents may review and ask questions about the 2014 spring recommendations for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear.

Finding Arizona Reporter

Sponsored Links
Arctic Cat Parts | Hyosung Parts | E-Ton Parts | CFMoto Parts