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The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
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Review Date: March 08, 1999
Director: Ulu Grossbard
Writer: Stephen Schiff
Producers: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kate Guinzberg
Actors:
Michelle Pfeiffer
Treat Williams
Whoopi Goldberg
Jonathan Jackson
Plot:
Regular family of mom, dad and three kids. Mom takes trip with kids, and leaves her two sons alone in a hotel lobby for a few minutes. When she returns, the younger boy has disappeared. They try to find him but to no avail. Nine years later, the boy unknowingly shows up at her front porch soliciting a lawn-mowing gig. His fingerprints are a match. Now, they must survive his return and their ongoing struggles to cope with their divergent feelings.
Critique:
Take a TV movie of the week, add two dashes of a solid actress via Michelle Pfeiffer, an interesting, if not mostly given away by its own trailer, storyline, some hugs, some tears, and you've got yourself a film whose title still doesn't fully make much sense to me. Now despite me knowing exactly what was going to happen up until the halfway point of this movie, this film conquered the impossible, and still managed not to bore me too much. It did however lack the overall emotional authenticity for me to qualify it as a solid all-out dramatic piece of filmmaking. The acting was also a half-and-halfer with Pfeiffer pulling off an excellent mom going through all the obvious stages of grief and guilt-syndrome, while others like Whoopie Goldberg stuck out like a sore thumb (That's right, she plays Whoopie again!).

I also found the missing kid to be lacking much of the conviction needed for his complex role. His character always seemed indifferent and emotionless, and whether or not that was the actor's fault or that of the screenwriter, I didn't quite find his full-circle plight all that believable. Having said that, Jonathan Jackson playing the older brother was super in his role, and Treat Williams, well, Treat Williams continues his artistic trek to restore some much-needed legitimacy to his acting career. Mrs. JoBlo enjoyed this film much more than I did, but I suppose that was to be quite expected, considering the subject matter of the picture. All in all, I didn't think it was a bad movie, but did wonder about its need for giant screen presentation. The TV tube and a Sunday night would have been fine. All in all, it is Pfeiffer and Jackson that give this movie some worth, with the story never running into major boring moments (or any exciting ones for that matter), and qualifying this movie as a worthy candidate for a video rental. You might even want to check it out in the theatres, if you've been feeling sensitive of late, and want a good cry. That, or if you're really intrigued by its premise.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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