Article 186

"The Perfect Family" film review
(April 2012)

Richard Chamberlain

The rift between Catholic concepts of what makes an ideal family and the imperfect reality that we all live in gets a humorous and compassionate workout in the comedy-drama The Perfect Family starring Kathleen Turner.

In her best starring role since Serial Mom, Turner plays yet another mother obsessed with perfection. Yet unlike that murderous mom, here she plays a devout woman who must confront her unconventional family’s imperfections when she’s nominated for a Catholic Woman of the Year award.

The primary conflict is her struggle to understand and accept her lesbian daughter’s pregnancy and impending marriage. Emily Deschanel is pitch-perfect as the daughter who’s trying to make a life with her partner (Angelique Cabral) despite fears that her mother will never accept her.

The coming out and struggle for acceptance storyline is played out in a nicely understated fashion, and one of the film’s strengths is that Turner makes you feel her character’s internal conflicts, feel her pain, and actually root for her.

This less-than-perfect family also includes cutie Jason Ritter as the son who just left his wife and kids for the local manicurist, and Michael McGrady (of TV’s Southland) as the recovering alcoholic husband.

Richard Chamberlain (still workin' it at 78) turns in a winsome performance as the sympathetic Irish monsignor, and NYPD Blue’s Sharon Lawrence has fun as the unctuous competitor for the award.

The film, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and played at L.A.’s Outfest, opens May 4 in New York City and on May 11 in major markets.

© 2012 Adam Sandel

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