Holly Hunter is too mousy for her role, while Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Moriarty are, respectively, too mature and too formidable for theirs, this high-toned soap opera adapted from a novel that's all a tingle with dated, earth-mother concepts is actually carried by the acting. Locked in a troubled standoff with his petulant son Wendell (Sutherland), New Haven physics Professor Richard Godard (Moriarty) secures the services of a housekeeper, Emma (Hunter). Emma, a spontaneous divorcee, is like a breath of fresh air and brings order to the cluttered household. Amateur poet Wendell is unable to forgive his father for having committed his mentally ill wife to a sanitarium, so he indulges in deliberately provocative, anti-social behavior. As Emma brokers a truce in their war of nerves, both men fall for her, even though Wendell already has a girlfriend, Monica (Carrie Preston). While Wendell is at Monica's place, Richard and Emma begin an affair. Unable to express his feelings for Emma, Wendell proposes to Monica and moves her into the house. How will Wendell react to the fact that Emma prefers his father, and will Emma be able to persuade Richard to have a child with her? Tune in tomorrow. Co-star Sutherland directs this Canadian weepie somberly, only allowing the actors to cut loose at key moments. The pacing is slow and the tight-lipped, carefully mannered Hunter is especially unconvincing as a force of nature who melts two frigid hearts. Moriarty gives touching depth to his character's frustration without suggest his innate defeatism and Sutherland can't quite overcome his jock-boy persona, though he makes a brave attempt.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: R
- Review: Holly Hunter is too mousy for her role, while Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Moriarty are, respectively, too mature and too formidable for theirs, this high-toned soap opera adapted from a novel that's all a tingle with dated, earth-mother concepts &… (more)