Marvin’s Room

Plot: A leukemia patient attempts to end a 20-year feud with her sister to get her bone marrow.

Summer is here! A time to enjoy hazy evenings in pub gardens, walks along the beach and barbecues with friends. NO. It’s a time to catch up on all the Meryl Streep films you haven’t bloody watched yet. “I watch lots of films anyway, writing just one blog a week will be easy!”. I was so naive back then, so full of hope. But do not fear, I AM ON IT. I going to have such a Season of Streep that I will win an Academy Award at the end of it. To push things in the right direction, last Sunday I settled myself in for three consecutive Streep films, starting with Marvin’s Room (I decided to wait until later in the day before subjecting myself to ‘It’s Complicated’).

Reading that synopsis, you would be forgiven for thinking Marvin’s Room was inoffensive cancer-porn in the same vein as ‘Stepmom’. While some of the cancer scenes are a little heavy-handed, this is much more deftly scripted. Meryl plays the not very likeable ‘Lee’; she has shied away from all responsibility of looking after her ailing father, is inept at handling her rebellious son’s attempts at attention seeking and has ignored the existence of her sister for the last 20 years. Much like The Devil Wears Prada, She-Devil and (arguably) Kramer vs. Kramer,  it’s always interesting to see Meryl in films where she has a nastier edge.

This is my sister we’re talking about. We’re not gonna let her die just so you can have one of your moods.

– Lee

Diane Keaton is a brilliant actress, but seems to have spent the last decade or so appearing in truly awful made-for-television movies or non-starting romcoms with Mandy Moore. Coupled with Meryl she had a chance to shine, earning herself an Oscar nomination where Meryl (for once!) did not. Maybe she was a little distracted by lending her vocals to the soundtrack with her old buddy Carly Simon? (Carly also sang ‘Coming Around Again’ from her 1986 film ‘Heartburn’.)

 

Completing the line-up, pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio plays a convincing teenage tearaway, Robert DeNiro gives just as charismatic a performance as he did in ‘Falling in Love‘ (i.e not very) and classic actor Hume Cronyn appeared as the titular Marvin in his last ever screen role. This was the perfect film to start my Streep Sunday, although it swiftly went downhill from here…

4/5

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