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A movie directed by Christopher Reeve

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In the still of the night

  • May 21, 2000
Rating:
+5
Pros: the bond between mother and son

Cons: the devastation of this disease

Another look into the devastation that is AIDS, we find Danny, played by Robert Leonard, returning to his parents home to die. His mother, as all mothers do, is delighted to see him and help him but his father finds it hard to communicate or deal with his son. Mother and son spend their days reminiscing the past, dreaming of the future, and learning about each others lives.

Danny never understood why his mother, usually so acceptable, never invited he and his partner home for any holidays. This is attributed to his father and his lack of understanding. His sister (Bridget Fonda) still laments over the fact that she was neglected as a child and is still being pushed aside as the mother devotes herself to her dying son.

Sis insinuates it is moms smothering attitude that caused Danny to be gay in the first place and refuses to bring her own child around, fearing AIDS (stupid wench). Dad, too, is feeling left out and shunned by mom and her attention to Danny.

Eventually they must hire a nurse to help care for Danny, played by Whoppi Goldberg. With her help Danny is able to accept his eventual death, as is his mother.

Finding relief sitting in the evening air, what they term as ‘the gloaming' part of the day, right before sunset, Danny and mom sit and enjoy a conversation that ends with her singing Danny Boy (OK, sappy I know, but it works here) to him, while Dad stands in the background watching, never approaching either one.

After his death, mom finally invites Danny's partner to stay at the house - little too late now, isn't it? - and he and Dad recount Danny's life as Dad grieves over the fact he never knew his son. Ok, so I blew the ending for you, but you already knew he was gonna die from the beginning.

A remarkable cast in Glen Close as the mother, who not only brings a soulful wistfulness to the role but also shows the mothers strengths and fears. Fonda gives a decent performance in her somewhat limited role, but does as good job as the bit**y jealous sister, and David Strathairn as the father does a passable job. Unfortunately, Whoppi's part is small, more a cameo than a real role, but she does a wonderful job.

The directing debut for Christopher Reeve was well received and well done. While not stressing the AIDS issue, he still brings it to our attention, as well as the misunderstanding associated with this killer. A slow but peaceful movie.



Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Susi Dawson ()
Ranked #81
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About this movie

Wiki

When their AIDS-stricken son returns home to die, an emotionally repressed family allows years of pent-up tensions, resentment, and insecurities to explode to the surface. Based on the story by Alice Elliott Dark, this acclaimed made-for-cable drama marks the directorial debut of Christopher Reeve.
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Details

Director: Christopher Reeve
Release Date: 1997
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 1hr 2min
First to Review
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