The Member of the Wedding - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Member of the Wedding Reviews

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October 12, 2016
serious and obvious flaw in miscasting a mature Harris as the edge-of-puberty protagonist, which over-eggs the stereotype of how young girls can be fond of melodramatics. perhaps the producer and director (big names kramer and zinnemann) didn't care to push two child actors in the same production, though dewilde's work is remarkable for his very first film (granted, his initiation in the role had come in the stage production). his work redeems the film, with of course the remarkable ms. waters. zinnemann redeems the film with irony, and making ms.waters the focus of the ending, a subversive touch. 'john henry' starts the hymn 'his eye is on the sparrow', waters makes it magical, yet henry's prolonged, painful, and fatal illness (off camera in the manner of classic tragedy) makes him the sparrow no one watched. the ending's focus on bernice exposes how the love and care she devoted to john henry and frankie made her no less marginalized to the families she worked for.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2013
The actors make the most of a rather plodding story. It is surprising that this film received all the honours that it did. It was behind its time.
½ June 4, 2013
I loved the scenery and the characters. What I didn't care for though was how much the movie skipped around, especially with the characters of John Henry and of Honey Brown. Frankie arrives at the outside of her home (after briefly running away) and is told from John Henry's bedroom window that she can't see him; that he's too ill. There's no further explanation and in the next scene---his character has been dead for months. In the instance of Honey Brown... Berenice pays a friend of hers to take Honey out of town to avoid legal troubles.. But then later in the movie, again without explanation, is told that he was sentenced to 10 years. Towards the end of the movie, we learn that Frankie will be moving to a new home with her dad and aunt. We're not told where Berenice winds up going. The story line just skipped around a tad too much for me. It's a sweet movie with tender moments and beautiful scenery... It's just one of those story lines that you wish had been written slightly different. ;-)
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2012
Some good acting by Ethel Waters in this slice of life and coming of age drama. The usually superior Julie Harris is shrill and annoying trying to be convincing as a 12 year old.
½ September 12, 2012
harris' shreaking hysterics give me a headache
March 6, 2012
When you move a Broadway production to the screen, most people would like to see the same actors reprise their roles. But when you have a 25-year old actress playing a 12-year old, you really have to 'suspend your disbelief' on this one... And Broadway actors must know that huge exaggerated body-language overacting just doesn't apply in front of a camera. It's just makes it really less believable. But if you're looking for an accurate adaptation of the book and the play, this Stanley Kramer production is for you. But I gotta say, Julie Harris playing Frankie is one of the most insanely exaggerated performances I've ever seen.
½ January 2, 2012
Typical 1950s junk in almost every imaginable way. I'm done with the decade now. Back to real film.
October 8, 2011
Stagey direction and a talky script stopped me from really enjoying The Member of the Wedding. Plus, Julie Harris' performance is irritating, at least to me. Ethel Waters, however, is stunning.
January 30, 2011
Everything hangs on Frankie, who yearns to grow up and get out, but Julie Harris never disappears into the character of someone half her age. A lot of McCullers' voice comes through and this is a pretty compelling character study--on paper.
½ March 20, 2010
Has nothing much original to say, but is well-written nonetheless and generally well acted. There is a big visual disconnect at the film's center though, since the main character is supposed to be 12 and Julie Harris, who portrays her, was 27 on the film's release. It's a very big problem in an otherwise well-made film.
January 22, 2010
A little girls irrational behavior when her brother gets married, she runs away getting herself into trouble.Sad ending . She really looks like a boy in a dress.
½ November 22, 2009
A good play, but (in my opinion) didn't transfer well to film and largely here because 27 yr old Julie Harris playing a 12 yr old did not work and made the slightly annoying angst of 12 yr old "Frankie Addams"...more creepy than annoying...and yes I know she was nominated for an Academy Award here - but frankly I think the true innocense of an actual 12 yr old girl would have rang the words of this more true.
½ June 15, 2009
I can't not be biased by my having read the novel (though that was over a year ago). But this is pretty much a Hollywood bastardization, even if it was bastardized for the stage first and is faithful to that bastardization. I don't care. Plot details remain largely the same. Its the depth of feeling, the insight into anomie and childhood and adolescence that it gone, and the overt theatricality of the acting and staging merely grates.
January 7, 2009
This a great obscure movie. It would be very easy for a low budget filmmaker to make, given that most of the action takes place in a kitchen between three characters. "The Member of the Wedding" is very theatrical but it worked for me.
I liked Julie Harris' histrionic performance. She reminded me of many 12-13 year old girls I have met.
½ October 12, 2008
Maybe I would have enjoyed this better on the stage, but as a movie- I did not. Julie Harris's peformance was just too ridiculously melodramtic to me, for the most part, and I am usually one who enjoys performances that are a bit overdone! But it was a struggle for me to try and watch this film because it was just too much. And I never heard of a 12 year old who thought, talked, or acted that way! Maybe in past generations it was so, but being born in the '90's- the character was hard for me to believe or embrace, especially considering Julie Harris was probably about 27 years old when this was filmed- which really confused the perception of the character for me. I DID enjoy Ethel Waters, very much so.

On stage? Maybe. On screen? Not for me.
June 26, 2008
This movie is a poem. On the surface, it's the story of a girl who doesn't fit in; underneath,it's a beautiful musing about one's sense of belonging in the world. Like the McCuller's book from which it is based, the movie reveals truths about life that are very difficult to explain. Ethel Waters is fantastic in this film. See it to hear her sing "Eye on the Sparrow."
May 14, 2008
Frankie/F. Jasmine acts a little too crazy for me, but still worth seeing for Ethel Waters.
April 29, 2008
In some ways, the play doesn't translate as well to screen because certain characters that can and should be overplayed on the stage come off as just too much when confined to a screen. The story and dialogue, however, make this play still shine.
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