Marvin's Room

Tony Award-winning stage director Jerry Zaks' debut feature is a gentle, surprisingly funny film about dying that manages to tug a few heartstrings without the usual emotional manhandling. Bess (Diane Keaton) and Lee (Meryl Streep), two estranged sisters who haven't spoken in more than 17 years, reunite after Bess learns she's been diagnosed with leukemia...read more

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Tony Award-winning stage director Jerry Zaks' debut feature is a gentle, surprisingly funny film about dying that manages to tug a few heartstrings without the usual emotional manhandling. Bess (Diane Keaton) and Lee (Meryl Streep), two estranged sisters who haven't spoken in more than 17 years, reunite after Bess learns she's been diagnosed with leukemia and will die unless she receives a bone marrow transplant. But the reunion is an uneasy one -- Bess resents the fact that Lee left her to care for their ailing father, Marvin (Hume Cronyn), while Lee

disdains the parochialism of Bess's life yet envies its emotional richness. Compounding the problem is Lee's troubled teenage son, Hank (Leonardo DiCaprio), who distrusts his newfound aunt's affection, but may be Bess's last hope for a compatible donor. Keaton is given a rare opportunity here to

remind us that she's not simply a fine comedienne, and she's marvelous. Streep, however, is somewhat less convincing as the brash, chain-smoking Lee, but her scenes with Keaton fairly crackle with an uncommon complexity.

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