One True Thing (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

One True Thing (1998)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.

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Movie Info

Carl Franklin directed this family drama adapted from the 1995 novel by former New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen about a young woman who goes back home to take care of her dying mother. In 1987-88, independent Ellen Gulden (Renee Zellweger), a Harvard grad, is working on a New York Magazine investigative article when she hears from her father, George (William Hurt), a literary critic and university professor. He tells Ellen she's needed at home to care for her mother, Kate (Meryl Streep), who's due for surgery. Ellen needs to get away from the problems of her relationship with her boyfriend Jordan (Nicky Katt), but she plans to continue work on the magazine article from home. In truth, Ellen is uncomfortable with her mother's various ladies club lunches, and holiday preparations, and she finds communication with her mother awkward. Once Ellen arrives back home, she's dismayed to find herself caught in the web of her mother's Middle America activities. Ellen's attitude changes when it becomes apparent this probably will be the final Thanksgiving and Christmas with all family members present. But tensions erupt as long-buried family secrets emerge. Locations in New Jersey were used to create the film's Eastern coastal college town. Shown at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
Rating:
R (for language)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Renée Zellweger
as Ellen Gulden
Meryl Streep
as Kate Gulden
William Hurt
as George Gulden
Nicky Katt
as Jordan Belzer
James Eckhouse
as District Attorney
Patrick Breen
as Mr. Tweedy
Gerrit Graham
as Oliver Most
David Byron
as Senator Sullivan
Lizabeth MacKay
as Dr. Cohen
Sloane Shelton
as Mrs. Best
Bobo Lewis
as Muriel
John Deyle
as Santa/Mayor
Hallee Hirsh
as 8-Year-Old Ellen
Jeffrey Scaperrotta
as 4-Year-Old Brian
Anna Alvim
as Nurse Teresa
Julie Janney
as Hospital Nurse
Susan Stout
as Tweedy's Secretary
Greg Hedtke
as Magazine Executive
Christian James
as Magazine Executive
Lauren Toub
as Halloween Girl
Ashley Remy
as Halloween Girl
Saul Williams
as Graduate Student
Julianne Nicholson
as College Student
Amber Kain
as College Student
Benjamin Andrews
as Party Kid
Kathryn Walsh
as Party Kid
James E. Graseck
as Violinist
Doug Allen
as Club Band Leader
Kirk Driscoll
as Club Band Member
Paul Pimsler
as Club Band Member
Scott Spray
as Club Band Member
Jay Stollman
as Club Band Member
Cathy Comiskey
as Christmas Choir Member
Ruth Egner
as Christmas Choir Member
Phil Gamble
as Christmas Choir Member
Spencer David Hutchings
as Christmas Choir Member
Linda Hutchings
as Christmas Choir Member
Wilbur Lewis
as Christmas Choir Member
Rich Morin
as Christmas Choir Member
Annette Mulholland
as Christmas Choir Member
Rosemary Palmer
as Christmas Choir Member
Gina Piccolo
as Christmas Choir Member
Rebecca Raines
as Christmas Choir Member
Barbara Russell
as Christmas Choir Member
Joanna Hoty Russell
as Christmas Choir Member
Barbara Savino
as Christmas Choir Member
Normana Schaaf
as Christmas Choir Member
Paul Schroeder
as Christmas Choir Member
Mary G. Sims
as Christmas Choir Member
Wolodymyr Smishkewych
as Christmas Choir Member
Chris Sterling
as Christmas Choir Member
Nancy Tkacs
as Christmas Choir Member
Peter Zimmerman
as Christmas Choir Member
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News & Interviews for One True Thing

Critic Reviews for One True Thing

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (20)

The script shifts audience sympathies about quite adroitly, though it's a pity all the men had to be such humbugs.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A well-oiled machine manufactured to tap our welled-up ducts.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Even director Carl Franklin...can't prevent One True Thing from descending into chick-movie hell.

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

One True Thing demonstrates that the power of simple things, the transcendent nature of the ordinary, can make for riveting filmmaking.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Streep and Hurt, two of the best gestural actors working, let the showboating tics fly fast and thick.

January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

Franklin seems ill-suited to this cast and this material.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Salon.com
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for One True Thing

½

Sad, but very good story about a daughter dealing with the death by cancer of the mother she never really got along with. Surprisingly, this isn't overly sentimental. I found it quite moving. Excellent performances by Meryl Streep and Renee zellweger.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Good but slightly barfy film about daughters and dying mothers. I'm sure if you like that sort of thing, this is right up your alley.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

½

meryl is very touching if only the rest of the movie matched her strong performance

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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