Critics Consensus

Bolstered by a delightful cast, Parenthood is a funny and thoughtfully crafted look at the best and worst moments of family life that resonates broadly.



Total Count: 54
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This feel-good ensemble comedy tracks a quartet of suburban siblings and their families over the course of a single summer. Hardworking Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) and his stay-at-home wife, Karen (Mary Steeenburgen), have just a few months to help their oldest son, Kevin (Jasen Fisher), overcome his high-strung behavior problems before he'll be relegated to special-education classes. Gil's difficult relationship with his own father, Frank (Jason Robards), has led him to become a would-be super-dad for his three kids, so he takes his son's difficulties more than a little personally. Gil's sister, Helen (Dianne Wiest), is trying to raise a moody, adolescent son (Leaf Phoenix) and an independent-minded daughter (Martha Plimpton) with no help from her well-off ex-husband, who's more interested in his new wife and family. Gil and Helen's sister, Susan (Harley Jane Kozak), meanwhile, must participate in the too-scripted Big Life Plans of her anal-retentive husband, Nathan (Rick Moranis), whose overachiever zeal infects even their toddler daughter. When long-lost brother Larry (Tom Hulce) show up with yet another get-rich-quick scheme, he brings with him a surprise addition to the family. Screenwriters Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz, and Ron Howard negotiate their varied subplots with a deftness and comedic touch that transforms this conflicted clan into a suburban everyfamily. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

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Tom Hulce
as Larry
Eileen Ryan
as Marilyn
Helen Shaw
as Grandma
Paul Linke
as George Bowman
Rance Howard
as Dean at College
Lamont Lofton
as Fotomat Clerk
Isabel Cooley
as Barbara Rice
Greg Gerard
as Doctor Lucas
Paul Keeley
as Kevin (age 21)
Walter von Bonhorst
as Opposing Coach
Isabelle Cooley
as Barbara Rice
Sherry Ferguson
as Screaming Co-ed
Todd Hallowell
as Track Official
Maxie Pontius
as Safety Man at Track
Richard Kuhlman
as Young Frank
Mark Dana
as Audrey
Steve Zurk
as Highway Policeman
Emil Felski
as Doctor at Hospital
Charmin Talbert
as Nurse at Hospital
Julie Lander
as Student in Hallway
Janet Moore
as Irate Woman in Audience
Claudio Jacobells
as Student 1 at College
Hillary Matthews
as Student 2 at College
Louisa Marie
as Woman Teacher No. 1
Cindi Vicino
as Woman Teacher No. 2
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News & Interviews for Parenthood

Critic Reviews for Parenthood

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (15)

  • The fulcrum of the film is Martin. It's an adventurous and successful stroke of casting that takes advantage of what the audience expects from him.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This movie has its share of laughs, but it's also Ron Howard's most personal film, and clearly his most ambitious.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Parenthood easily could have focused exclusively on yuppie parents and their kids; however, the script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel is more sophisticated than that, remembering that every parent is still a child too.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The remaining cast, young, old and in-between, is lovely.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Full Review…
  • With Parenthood, Howard as a director has discovered weight, but not gravity. For all of its admirable seriousness, the film finally floats away.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • There's not a scene in Parenthood that isn't involving: The actors keep reaching into themselves and coming up with gold.

    Jul 31, 2013 | Full Review…

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