Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel
Staring: Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Wiest, Keanu Reeves, Rick Moranis, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, Harley Jane Kozak, and Joaquin Phoenix
They call me Cowboy Gil, as in guil-ty. I saw Cowboy Dan. I didn’t like the look on his face. It was like this…… so I killed him. I blew a hole in him this big. Actually it was about this big. You know, when I think about it, that hole was about THIS BIG! And his guts were spilled out all over the floor. As I was walkin’ away, I slip around on his guts. A couple of other people came by and started slippin’ on his guts too. After I blow a hole in somebody and slip around on their guts… afterwards, I always like to make balloon animals. That’s mighty courteous of you. Here we go! -Gil
Parenthood is a timeless comedy that relates to all ages, has depth and complexity, and still manages to be absolutely hilarious. It is thoroughly textured with translatable material, and is centered around the “Buckman ” family which could represent any suburban American family today. Instead of evaluating the family threw their faults, it gives them a neutral understanding, no matter who you are. The Buckman’s are an easy family to embrace and the genuine predicaments they are in makes them even more tangible.
The perspectives are taken from the sons and daughters of the Buckman’s, who now have their own children and are all living very different lives from one another. Each now has their own children and their own issues to overcome, from working with a family, to being a good spouse, to getting along with relatives. All of them seem to be good people at heart, but all have difficulties from one point of view to another, even though each is trying to be good parents, just in different ways. This unification that everyone in life has their own obstacles to overcome in child rearing gives the viewer a sense of relief and maybe more of an understanding that everyone may be different but in their most naked form are the same. Everybody worries they will screw their kids up, and in some cases we do, but in Parenthood, everyone tries, which is ultimately the most honest aspect of the movie.
Though part of this description may seem mundane, it’s anything but. The performances are heartfelt, the comedy is perfect, and the natural flow in which the film is shot is the perfect pacing. Each of the character’s are unique and compelling, even though their problems are typical. The chemistry between Steve Martin and Mary
Steenburgen sells like they have been a married couple for at least a decade. Dianne Wiest and Martha Plimpton have one of the most realistic mother/daughter relationships I’ve ever seen on screen. The confusion, the resentment, and the unconditional love is emoted by them in a raw and honest way.
This is one of the most enjoyable films to re-watch again and again over the years. I had the pleasure of first seeing it in my tweens, then again in the late teens, early twenties, and now me, as a parent myself. At each of those benchmarks in my own life there was a character easy to relate to, and authentically trying to overcome the random issues we all suffer in day to day life as a daughter, son, husband, mother, father, or wife. Each time Parenthood entertains me in a new way I didn’t fully understand before. This timeless quality will probably bring only further enjoyment as I age even more. This is one of Ron Howard’s masterpieces and one of my favorite films.