Movie Review: 'The Perfect Family' -- 3 stars
The Perfect Family
Directed by Anne Renton
Starring Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter
Kathleen Turner continues her career revival with a top-notch performance as matriarch Eileen Clearly in "The Perfect Family," a low-key, conventional indie that simply wouldn't work without her.
Few actors have so adeptly managed the transition from young A-list sex symbol to interesting older thespian, and now Turner finally has found a movie role to compete with the stage parts she's played over the past decade-plus, in everything from "The Graduate" to a revival of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Devoutly religious Eileen, a New Jersey housewife, has been nominated for the prestigious Catholic Woman of the Year honor. A favorite of her priest (Richard Chamberlain), she seems like a shoo-in despite fierce competition from longtime rival Agnes Dunn (Sharon Lawrence).
There's just one problem: The process requires a priestly home visit to make sure Eileen's family meets the church's standards. With a recovering alcoholic husband (Michael McGrady), a son(Jason Ritter) who has just left his wife for a manicurist and a daughter (Emily Deschanel) who's pregnant and engaged to another woman (Angelique Cabral), Eileen has cause for concern.
The movie teeters on the edge of caricature, but Turner keeps it grounded and relatable. The actress resists the simple, one-dimensional route by emphasizing Eileen's internal conflicts, as she grapples with the contrast between her sense of what an ideal family should be and the realities of her own.