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Immediate Family Reviews

A surprisingly restrained drama about modified surrogate motherhood, IMMEDIATE FAMILY pairs James Woods and Glenn Close as Michael and Linda Spector, an upscale couple unable to conceive a child. Lucy Moore (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Sam (Kevin Dillon), by contrast, are a struggling young working-class pair of unmarried parents-to-be. Desperate to have a child, the Spectors arrange a brokered adoption with Lucy, agreeing to care for her during her pregnancy, after which she will turn the baby over to them. When her maternal instinct takes over, Lucy reneges, bussing back to Ohio from Seattle with the infant in tow. That's not quite the end of the story, but IMMEDIATE FAMILY is so sensible that the ending isn't hard to imagine. Director Jonathan Kaplan and writer Barbara Benedek maintain emotional distance without condescending to the characters or seeming indifferent, a respectfulness that extends to their willingness to risk the lack of emotional punch at the fadeout and a refusal to load the film with speeches. Unfortunately, despite solid work by Woods and Close, their characters fail to come to life the way working-class Lucy--played beautifully by Masterson--does.