Picks and Pans Review: Marvin's Room
A couple of months back, while ballyhooing The First Wives Club on The Tonight Show, Diane Keaton told Jay Leno she will not have plastic surgery. That may make the 50-year-old actress an outright rebel among most of her cinematic peers, but she puts every facial furrow to admirable effect in Marvin's Room. Playing a woman who has sacrificed the past 20 years of her life to care for her elderly, invalid father (Cronyn) and dotty aunt (Verdon) and now has come down with leukemia herself, Keaton's bittersweet performance is a thing of beauty and the main reason to see this slight, lachrymose domestic drama.
When Keaton finds out she's ill, she sends for her long estranged younger sister (Streep), a single mother whose biggest dream in life is to get a hairdresser's license. Streep arrives with her surly, 17-year-old son (DiCaprio) in tow; and, in the movie's most touching scenes, the lonely Keaton and sullen DiCaprio reach out to each other. Streep seems a bit over the top at first, but she kind of grows on you. So does the movie. Anyone who doesn't tear up by the end needs remedial crying lessons. (PG-13)