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One True Thing

The movie One True Thing was based on the book One True Thing.

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Movie details for One True Thing

The movie was released in 1998 and directed by Carl Franklin, who also directed Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) and High Crimes (2002). One True Thing was produced by Universal Studios. More information on the movie is available on Amazon.com and also IMDb.

Actors on this movie include Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham, Nicky Katt, James Eckhouse, Patrick Breen, Gerrit Graham, David Byron, Stephen Peabody, Lizbeth MacKay, Mary Catherine Wright, Sloane Shelton, Michele Shay, Bobo Lewis, Marylouise Burke, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Diana Canova and John Deyle.

 

Read More About This Movie

Based on Anna Quindlen's bestselling novel, this is a mother-daughter and father-daughter story, two for the price of one. But director Carl Franklin also tries to inject a police-mystery angle that it neither needs nor will support. Renee Zellweger plays... Read More
Based on Anna Quindlen's bestselling novel, this is a mother-daughter and father-daughter story, two for the price of one. But director Carl Franklin also tries to inject a police-mystery angle that it neither needs nor will support. Renee Zellweger plays a young writer on the rise, who has finally gotten her break for a New York magazine. While home for a birthday party for her nearly famous writer father (William Hurt), she learns that her mother (Meryl Streep) has been diagnosed with cancer. Then her father does the unthinkable: He all but commands her to put her career on hold to take care of her mother and nurse her through her illness. Dad, a popular college professor who has never gotten the literary acclaim he always believed he deserved, essentially checks out--and daughter must play parent to her mother. Strong performances by Streep and Zellweger give this parent-child relationship the heart--and the anger--of the real thing, while Hurt seems slightly disembodied as the self-involved father whose needs have dominated both women. Still, the detective-story aspect (the film is told in flashback, as the cops try to discover whether someone slipped Mom a fatal dose of morphine) is a construct that could have been done without. --Marshall Fine

Book details for One True Thing

One True Thing was written by Anna Quindlen. The book was published in 1989 by Random House Trade Paperbacks. More information on the book is available on Amazon.com.

 

Read More About This Book

One True Thing is a film starring Meryl Streep as the cancer-stricken homemaker mother, Renee Zellweger as the daughter who quits her top-dog job to care for her, and William Hurt as the chilly professor who lets the women in the family do the heavy emoti... Read More
One True Thing is a film starring Meryl Streep as the cancer-stricken homemaker mother, Renee Zellweger as the daughter who quits her top-dog job to care for her, and William Hurt as the chilly professor who lets the women in the family do the heavy emotional lifting dying requires. But the real star of the project remains former New York Times everyday-life columnist Anna Quindlen, who quit her top-dog job to write novels (and who took time off from college to nurse her own dying mother).

Quindlen hit a nerve with One True Thing, which captures an experience seldom dealt with in popular culture. (One exception: the sensitive 1996 film with Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio of the play Marvin's Room.) Though the heroine of One True Thing, Ellen Gulden, is a golden girl with two brothers who'll lose her career the instant she steps off the fast track, society concurs with her dad, who says, "It seems to me another woman is what's wanted here."

The book is a mother-daughter tale that should please fans of, say, The Joy Luck Club. It's not flashy, but it has a deep feel for the way children often discover, just before it's too late, who their parents really are. "Our parents are never people to us," Ellen writes, "they're always character traits.... There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat." The mercy-killing subplot isn't gripping, but the palpable sense of deepening family intimacy certainly is. --Tim Appelo