Parenthood (1989) Poster


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Are you someone's parent? Are you someone's child? SEE THIS MOVIE!!
bigpurplebear18 April 2001
When "Parenthood" first came out, I did my level best to avoid it, certain that it seeing it would be roughly akin to being embalmed with maple syrup. Then came that dreadfully slow night at home a couple of years later, faced with a choice on the ol' tube between endless reruns of "Three's Company" and HBO showing -- oh, no! -- "Parenthood." So I clicked on HBO, gritted my teeth, prepared for the worst . . .

And was wrong.

Ron Howard is one savvy filmmaker. Maybe one of the savviest, I'm not sure. But I do know that, to make "Parenthood," he combined his savvy with all the heart he could muster (which was plenty, apparently) and that the result is a masterpiece.

Virtually every aspect of parenting is examined; moreover, it is done in a way that -- miracle of miracles! -- causes you to think, and to feel, every bit as much as it makes you laugh. Throat lumping up? Not to worry, here comes another belly-laugh to smooth it out.

The key to the film's message may lie with Jason Robards' speech --"There's no goal line in parenting, no end zone where you spike the ball and that's it . . ." -- or it may lie with Keanu Reeves -- "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to drive a car or buy a dog . . ." -- or it may simply be Gil Buckman's (Steve Martin) heroism in salvaging his emotionally disturbed son's birthday party; then again, it might be embodied in the frantic, stressed out stoicism of Dianne Wiest's single mom character as she comes to grips with her teenage daughter's choices and impending motherhood. But wherever you find it herein, the message is simple and profound: Parenthood is nothing less than heroism on a daily basis. Quiet, unheralded, underappreciated heroism.

One of the finest things about this movie is that nobody steps out of character. There are no miraculous revelations, no nick-of-time cavalry charges or character transformations. Characters here solve their individual dilemmas by growing WITHIN their characters. And realistically, at that.

It's been said that a really good story leaves its author crying as he/she writes the final pages. Sometimes -- not often enough -- a really good movie can leave a reviewer the same way as he finishes his commentary, crying and laughing simultaneously.

Well, don't just stand there! Someone get me a Kleenex!!
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Excellent mix of comedy and drama.
Boba_Fett11382 May 2006
This might very well be the most balanced- and excellent mix of drama and comedy I have ever seen. I already loved "Parenthood" when I was a kid and I perhaps love it even more now as a grownup, when I recently watched it again.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this movie is in its realism. Sure every character and event in the movie are somewhat silly and over-the-top but yet they also feel like very real problems and persons at the same time. This due to the great portrayal of the drama elements in the movie. These are real, recognizable or not, family-issues portrayed in this movie. It handles some delicate subjects but never without a smile as well. It makes this movie both touching and warm to watch, as well as fun and amusing.

Reason why both the dramatic and comical elements all work so well is also thanks to the cast. The movie has many well known actors in it. Tom Hulce especially impressed me and also Steve Martin was a great leading man, from the period when he was still funny in movies. Solid as always were Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Wiest. Rick Moranis surprisingly doesn't play a loser this time but he still is a nutty character in the movie. He shows in this movie that he also has some real acting skills. Keanu Reeves is also good in his role, from the period when he appeared mostly in just comedies. The still very young Joaquin Phoenix also plays a great and quite big role in the movie.

It has some totally unforgettable moments in it, both comedy-wise as in its drama. It all makes this movie one of the most warm and subtle movies ever made. It doesn't try to be funny, it doesn't try to be melodramatic. The end result of it all is an extremely well balanced and crafted mix of drama and comedy that works on both levels. You can watch this movie as a drama or as a comedy, so fans of both the genre will be pleased with this movie that surely does not disappoint in any way.

An early subtle Ron Howard masterpiece, that is criminally underrated here on IMDb.

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parenting 101 (and a graduate course)
wotrwokr-12 July 2004
there are movies that entertain... enlighten... challenge... confuse.

parenthood is a movie that will be more and more a classic as YOU move through life. it's a look at family-life and how we do the right things and the wrong things as we move from the "parentED" to the "parentERS". as lead-pastor of a church that is dedicated to serving 19 to 29 year olds, this is one movie that is as much a teaching lesson as it is entertainment.

when one looks to learn, there are many notes to be taken here. equally entertaining, the whole ensemble is stellar as it portrays the inner workings of the buckman family tree.

the 4 children of the patriarch and matriarch have grown and are now dealing with the parenting world first hand. they deal with the issues we all do: workaholism, divorce, "super"parenting, self-promotion, etc. as their circles of life intersect (and they always do...), all the family members come to some conclusions... between over-parenting and under-parenting, there's a place where love resides in all of its splendor and strain. love HAS to win the day... even when those we love do and act they way that troubles us. life is an eXpedition:... where we can struggle through it alone, or in with the support of others... but we're definitely going to have to be moving forward.

"parenthood" reminds us all of the journey we're on. as parents we really cannot live FOR our children... for really, we ALL are children... still learning and making mistakes along the way. we recognize that what we really need in our lives are people who will love us all along the way. we then realize this is what our children need as well.

the movie has so many deeply poignant, yet roll-on-the-floor funny moments.

two of many favorites: when the patriarch (jason robards)talking to (steve martin) realizes that his job as father never ends... "there is no end, you never cross the goal line, spike the ball and do your touchdown dance, never... i'm 64 and larry is 27... and he's still my son, like kevin is your son... you think i want him to get hurt?... he's my son". also when grandma explains life to her joy of a roller-coaster over a merry-go-round... "that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together... some didn't like it... they went on the merry-go-round... that just goes around... nothing... i like the roller-coaster... you get more out of it". life is seen as it's best understood... an amusement park that we all are going through. our perspective and our faith are the important factors.

to me, this movie is way more then entertainment... it's a blessing. it will teach... if we are willing to learn.

enjoy... and take good notes, ron
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Good performances from a lot of good actors
d858thompson7 February 2005
This is a classic ensemble film. It has an amazing cast of very talented people. I wonder how they got so lucky to get so many really good actors together with such varied films behind them. Steve Martin does a really good job and never has a bad moment in the film but the rest of the cast is great. Easily, one of Keanu Reeves' best early films. Joaquin Phoenix is great in his role. Dianne Wiest is priceless and has some really good scenes, including those with her daughter Martha Plimpton. Whatever happened to Martha Plimpton by the way? She was great in this and in "Running on Empty." Who plays that grandmother? She's great! Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis... Goes on and on. And the great Jason Robards. One of the finest actors this world has ever known. This is really a good movie about families - the good and bad side of them and some great moments about fatherhood. This is really, really a good movie and one that can be appreciated by so many people. A good rental - a good family movie. Go for it!
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grendelkhan20 April 2003
This is a wonderful film that takes full advantage of both a great script and an outstanding cast. It shows, with equal measure, the joys and pain of parenting. We see great examples of dysfunction and love. It is sentimental, but not to the point of being unreal.

Steve Martin gives a tremendous performance as a father, who wants to be everything that he feels his father wasn't: loving, caring, and involved in his children's lives in a positive manner. He is torn between his duties as a provider and the need to be there for his children. Mary Steenburgen is wonderful, as always, as a devoted wife and mother. She tries to keep her family on an even keel and to soothe their anxieties, her husband included. She conveys so much with just body language and has a smile that seems to come from her soul. Jason Robards is his usual powerful self, as the patriarch who made himself a success, but at the expense of his family. He recognizes his mistakes and finds a chance to make some amends in his twilight years.

Diana Weist is the single mother, trying to provide for her troubled children, and find some life for herself. She wants to give her kids what they want, but is torn between giving to them and watching them make mistakes. Rick Moranis is the parent who wants their child to succeed, to the point of smothering their childhood. He wants the best for his child, but fails to see that childhood should be as much about play and new experiences, as it is about education. His wife wants the same, but wants their daughter to be a little girl, too. She also wants another child, but feels that she is alone in this area and is losing her husband. Tom Hulce is the irresponsible, youngest sibling, who has run off whenever things have become too tough. Things get tough when you are a parent, and he stays true to form.

The young actors are all tremendously talented and the little ones are quite cute. It is no surprise that these performances are so good, given that the director was a child actor himself. Ron Howard really knows how to bring the best out of young actors, as well as their adult counterparts.

There is so much to savor in this film. There are great laughs and touching moments. There is drama and satire. There is the joy of watching great character actors display their craft. There are the clearly defied roles, with great complexity, that are easy to identify with.

This is a film that all parents should see. Kids should see this, when they are old enough to understand the sacrifices that their parents make for them and why they make the decisions that they do. Parenting: it's the toughest job you'll ever love!
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Thoroughly enjoyable comedy drama
ODDBear7 April 2006
Parenthood is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy drama that you feel doesn't take as many convenient short cuts as many family movies do. Everyone has a colorful family to some extent; most (I hope) are full of good natured people but there are always rotten apples floating around.

Director Ron Howard puts many lives on display and different challenges each one faces and every one of these inspections have something to offer. Steve Martin's reactions to his older son's adjustment problems are very well realized, with many humorous moments, to be sure, but at the core is a maturely handled and moving segment, and Martin has rarely been better.

Diane Wiest's family drama consists of her inability to communicate properly to her two teenage children; the daughter a temperamental rebel with a "loser" boyfriend, the son a nearly recluse loner with raging hormones who thinks something is wrong with him (what guy hasn't been there at least once?). Superb performances form Wiest and (yes, surprisingly) Keanu Reeves really fuel this story which never loses itself despite seeing many humorous aspects in a rather depressing household.

Jason Robards plays the family father who hasn't been all that good to his children since...well ever, and he faces a tough assignment when he has to admit to himself that one of his children, who has learned the most from him, is heading into disaster fast. The scene where he asks Steve Martin for advice is a moving scene in so many ways; it's never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks.

Rick Moranis's tale of his insanely intellectual daughter is my least favorite but it does have a very charming conclusion. And that granny is priceless.

Parenthood may be even better for those who have children and can identify with some situations depicted here but as for me, I think I can learn a thing or two for years to come.
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Coxer9911 June 1999
Winning ensemble comedy about the humurous and tragic tribulations of parenting that is for all ages. Robards is wonderful as the patriarch of the family but it's Martin who stands out, especially in the wonderful "Cowboy" scene. The film is heartfelt and ends on a tender note. Randy Newman leads his through the work with his grand tunes. He was Oscar nominated for his song, "Love to See You Smile." Wiest was also Oscar nominated.
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One of Ron Howard's best movies.
wishkah79 January 2001
This is a flick every parent should see. Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen play embittered parents raising their 3.4 kids, one of which is emotionally disturbed. It centers around two families who live in the same neighborhood.

Also, Rick Moranis was great in this to, as a father of a daughter who was a child prodigy who knew everything, but how to have fun. Both families go through the struggles, hardships, joys, and the good times of raising children. Whether they're rebellious teenagers or 'black sheep'.

The whole birthday party scene was a real scene stealer! And all the characters from both families and this movie's plot were all very realistic! So, next time movie night is planned for your family, rent Parenthood. I recommend this movie for any family to see! And might I add, Ron Howard's best and most superb film he ever made! I give it 5 stars!
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Terrific family movie
Snoopymichele21 July 2006
This is one of Ron Howard's triumphs, and one of the best movies about family relationships.

It's got a dream cast and reads like a who's who of popular 80's actors-Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Keanu Reeves,Dianne Wiest, Martha Plimpton, Tom Hulce, Harley Kozak, Rick Moranis-and the terrific Jason Robards and an outstanding (albeit young) Joaquin Phoenix. All give phenomenal performances that were tailor made for them. Who else but Steve Martin could be Cowboy Gil? And who but Dianne Wiest could portray a tough as nails, but sweetly feminine single mother? And who else but Keanu Reeves and Martha Plimpton could have been the Romeo and Juliet wannabes Todd and Julie? Some of the situations in the film could seem far-fetched, but the likability of the cast is so immense that you just have to take it as it comes. They make the script work, and Ron Howard's direction is superb.

I have seen this movie several times through the years, and it never gets old, it just gets better. This is absolutely one to own!
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The joys of Parenthood
Smells_Like_Cheese1 January 2007
I babysit a lot and when my cousins have pulled pranks, I go home crying to my mom about how hard it is to handle them sometimes and she laughs at me and says "Wait 'till it's 24-7", 'cause I would like to have 3 kids one day. I think we all forget that our parents are people too every once in a while and I ask my mom and dad how they did it, but they always tell me there is no book to raising a child, you just have to do the best you can and Parenthood is a comedic and sometimes serious interpretation of what all parents go through in the greatest and scariest times of their kid's lives.

We go through four siblings: Gil, played by Steve, who is trying so hard to be the perfect dad to his four children, but finds it to be too much than he expected. Larry, played by Tom, who can't seem to grow up and accept his responsibility to be a dad. Helen, played by Dianne, who has rebellious kids and she's a single mom learning how to handle her high school married daughter. And Julie, played by Martha, who's husband, played by Rick, won't stop taking over their daughter's possible fun childhood by stuffing her head with information she won't need until Harvard Law School.

Parenthood is a terrific movie that really shows how hard it is to be a parent, but the terrific rewards that come with it. Not to mention that there is great humor to it as well, but it was so realistically portrayed that anyone could get into this film. If you are a parent or daughter or son, this is the movie to watch. It really is a great film and the cast just brought so much to over all a terrific film.

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Realistic and hilarious view of parenthood
jimc121522 July 2001
I saw this movie when it first came out, bought the video, and have watched it at least a dozen times and am not ashamed to say it is one of my top five all-time movies. The movie is so true to life about the joys, the struggles, the emotions of being a parent, yet does it with some absolutely hilarious scenes. There is a great cast and the story flows so well, there are lots of laughs with never a dull moment. I see my siblings and my parents in these characters and the "roller coaster" analogy of life describes my wife's and my outlook too well!What tops off this great movie is the ending. I am frequently disappointed at how many comedies are very funny early, but once the gags are used up, struggle to find an ending. The end here is both surprising and extremely satisfying. As my kids get older, problems of their adulthood loom on the horizon, I am reminded of Jason Robards' words near the end of the movie about parenting..."It never ends, it never ends!
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A Realistic Look at Family
JoshtheGiant9 June 2006
Parenthood is the most realistic look at family ever put on film, the film is absolutely brilliant in its portrayal of its characters and there lives. The screenplay is just brilliant. The performances are also fantastic, particularly by Steve Martin and Rick Moranis, what a surprise. Diane Weist, Joaquin Pheonix, Keanu Reaves and others are also very good in their respective roles. Ron Howards direction is very good, he has rarely done better, and has never made a better movie than Parenthood. It is truly flawless, and absolutely brilliant. You need to see this movie, it is perfect, hilarious, realistic, and one of the best comedies ever to be made.
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A Sweet, warm-hearted, and subtle comedy
LaChantefleurie20 September 2002
One of the things I like about this movie is its...lack of obnoxiousness. Other comedies throw their scenes in your face with little tact and no subtlety, but not so with this movie. Not to say that it isn't funny. It's absolutely hilarious! But the main thing that appeals to me about Parenthood is the warm heart that is at the center of it all. These characters have nuanced, complicated, and not overly dramatic problems. Just like REAL PEOPLE, and unlike many of the one-faceted characters seen in movies today.

And what better actor to play Gil than Steve Martin? A comedic genius, Martin is capable of playing anything from slimy to sincere, conforming perfectly to his role, and it helps that he's not a cynic. Also watch for great appearances by Tom Hulce, perhaps best known as Amadeus (poor guy, where'd his career go?) and a very young Joaquin Phoenix as Gary.

All in all, a very funny and very sweet comedy that I will give a 9/10!!
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The best movie about parenthood yet
lremmell6429 October 2007
I absolutely love this movie and I watch it every time it is played on DishNetwork.

I don't understand why it didn't receive a better rating on IMDb, but I really don't care. It is a masterpiece. This movie has it all, romance, drama, comedy, real life scenarios, parenting issues, children and teenager issues.

Parenthood has good times, bad times, quiet times and more. It is a roller-coaster ride full of ups and downs, sudden turns and even an occasional stop. This move sums it up.

Now that I have a daughter who wears retainer, I can now totally relate to the scene where they are sifting through the trash can for their sons lost retainer. I have done that and know you would do anything for your child.
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I loved this movie!
smwise34 February 2007
Ron Howard did an amazing job with Parenthood. It's a movie I would consider allowing my kids to watch were it not for the sexual innuendos and suggestive scenes, but as adult-type entertainment, it never fails to entertain. The screenplay is witty and there probably isn't a family in America that could not identify with at least some aspects of the film, marriage, child rearing, career issues, etc. Steve Martin in a way reprises his role in Father of the Bride, but here he reveals more depth and generates more sympathy for his predicament. Mary Steenburgen as his wife and Dianne Wiest as his sister were standouts, as were Jason Robards as his father. Helen Shaw as the grandmother was a delight, and Rick Moranis was very much in character from his "Blew Up..." series. Oddly enough, in a movie about parenthood, other than mostly all the kids having some sort of problems, I didn't find them particularly lovable. Though the end has been called syrupy or corny, I loved it.
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Still one of the best
clarkehfd31 January 2004
As we have grown older and now a grandparent of 3, we watch this often and find that it is very true. Every child is different and needs to be treated differently. There is no one way to raise a child and this movie reminds us that there are no guarantees of success. It is still one of the best movies made. Although, I also think that "strange brew" is one of my favorites. So, what do I know.
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One terrific movie!
Jay0910195123 August 2003
I'm almost 52 and i have gone through many good and bad times in my life, no different that anyone else who was lucky enough to meet the right person and have your own family. But when you think the bad times with your spouse or child are getting the best of you, all you have to do is watch Parenthood and once again feel great about your life and family, no matter how it worked out. You remember to treasure your family. Ron Howard has turned out a bunch of very good movies, but this one is still head and shoulders above the rest. I am not ashamed to admit that i can not watch this entire movie without a box of tissues.
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one of the most touching movies I've ever seen
sparky-12627 December 2002
Parenthood is very funny, touching, sad, redeeming, and everything I love in a movie. One of the most underated movies of all time. It's hard for me to see why anybody wouldn't enjoy this movie. Tom Hulce as Larry is my favorite character in this and in my opinion does one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen. Amazingly touching and funny performances by Jason Robards, Steve Martin, Diane Weist and Mary Steenburgen and a hilarious part by Clint Howard as an annoying, overzealous father of a boy on the little league team. 10/10
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A delightful combination of humour and seriousness
Tet-527 December 1998
Did you see Singin'in the Rain? Then try to recall that hilarious song Make 'm laugh, by Donald O'Connor. Do you smile, remembering this? I do! I think this is the best way to describe how I felt when I was writing this user comment about Parenthood. There are so many delightful little moments in this picture, so much humour. And, although it's been at least one year since I've last seen this movie, I still find myself smiling at them. Parenthood is a masterpiece. And I don't use that phrase easily, I think only 10 of the approximately 900 movies I've seen deserve this qualification. I'm someone's daughter, I'm someone's wive, and I'm someone mother. In every three of these capacities, I recognized the feelings of some of the many, many characters in this movie. Ron Howard gave us a mirror in which anyone of us can see herself or himself. And it's not only yourself you see, you also recognize a lot of people who played (or still are playing) an important part in your life. The fact that you can really relate to the characters is one of the great assets of this movie. I want to give an enormous compliment to the guys who wrote the script. There are so many important characters in this movie, it's amazing how they managed to give everyone of them enough attention, without letting the story break into little pieces. Everything just fits in perfectly! I would like the Academy to introduce a new award-category, namely an Oscar for 'the entire cast'. If there had been such an Oscar in 1989, the actors and actresses of Parenthood surely would have won it. All the performances are just right, it wouldn't be fair to single out one or two of the performers.
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A roller-coaster of truth and emotion
muddog12317 May 2001
Okay, hard to believe, but Steve Martin can act. Along with Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Dianne Wiest. . ., it is very rare films where a large number of talent provide a quality product. Martin's character is full of middle-age angst. Moranis' pressure on his pre-schooler to succeed can be found in any yuppie Montessori pre-school.

The surrealistic direction of the school play rollercoaster ride is classic, and rare in film-making. Even Martin's nervous acting style breaks through with emotion and our sympathy. It is one of the few movies where I actually FELT something real, and maybe I'm over the top, but this film changed my life (at times). Life is full of "issues", and Lowell Gantz & Babaloo Mandel perfectly capture the possibility of forgiveness and "going with the flow".
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danimac6167 November 2003
This movie is a must-see movie for everybody. It's a million out of 10. I became an aunt on Christmas Eve, 2002, before that I loved the movie, but now becoming an aunt and spending my life with a little guy, I understand this movie more. My parents love the movie, because they can understand what the cast is going through. This was the best Steve Martin movie that I have ever seen in my entire life. The supporting cast is phenomenal, Keanu Reeves, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Weist, Rick Moranis and many others. I think this is one of the first Keanu movies that I've seen, besides Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and man doesn't Keanu look so sexy with the shaggy look, he's excellent in this movie. The movie revolves around the life of the whole Buckman family, it includes many different relationships too like siblings, grandparents, parents, boyfriend and girlfriend, cousins, aunts and uncles. This movie is the perfect movie because it's about a family that's just like everybody else's family, and it explains to you what parenthood is all about.
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kyle_furr19 March 2004
The movie is only two hours long and i had wished it had been longer. This is most likely Ron Howard's best film and the same for Steve Martin. It's great to see Steve Martin not having to do so much slapstick unlike some of his other movies. Their really isn't a plot, it's just showing the lives of a bunch of relatives. Jason Robards is the grandfather and Steve Martin is his son who thought Robards was a bad father. Robards has three other sons, including one who owes $26,000 to some bookies. Rick Moranis wants his daughter to be a genius, so he reads Kafka to her, while the mother just wants her to act her age. Dianne Wiest has a lot of problems with her kids, like her daughter running away and getting married and her son destroying his father's doctor office just because he couldn't stay with him. Their is a lot more and it's just a really great movie.
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Forever relevant
chasman9928 April 2006
I recall seeing this when it was released in '89. I found it funny but was only a Junior in high school at the time. Much of the humor and pain/struggle was lost on me. I rediscovered this on TV yesterday and just could not turn it off.

Having been married for a while and having kids of my own really brings this picture into focus. It is an amazing rendition of various families and how they are existing and treating their children. I identified so completely with Steve Martin's character that is was a bit scary.

I can see this film lasting the test of time very well. You can watch it as an outsider and enjoy the chaos or find yourself in one of the characters and enjoy the irony. Another Ron Howard masterpiece.
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One of the most humorously touching films on how modern families do or don't cope.
patria17 October 2000
I have watched this film at least a dozen times and never fail to be moved by its insightful treatment of the lives of this extended family. On reflection, it is mainly about fathers and their relationship with their spouses and children with all the problems and challenges fatherhood can bring, but told with such a deft empathic hand that I am stunnned that this film does not appear in your 100 Best Films. It is Steve Martin at his very best - both funny and humanly vulnerable - and with a cast of near-perfect performances from his fellow co-stars. The scene where Diane Wiest's young son contacts his estranged father to try to arrange for a visit never fails to make me weep, or the line Keanu Reeves delivers with such brilliant pathos ... something like "you have to have a licence for almost anything but you don't have to have a licence to become a father". I find this film flawless and I can't say that about many films!
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Everything that parenthood gives you - agony, bliss, redemption, love, tears and great laughter - is shown here with amazing acting based on a formidable script.
Please encourage everyone to see this film. Your heart will ache, be moved with joy, and you can laugh a lot - quite healthily! Great cast takes you to their journey of life which is very familiar filled with trial and error, difficulties, sadness, yet redeeming forgiveness and embracing love. Let us always try to remember the simple fact that nobody is perfect and we have no choice but to train ourselves to forgive each other as much as possible with strong sense of humour and humility.
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