Click on the thumbnail to view the larger picture.
A Quote from a review by James Berardinelli
"Yet, even on those occasions when the screenplay falters, the actors are there to take up the slack. Marvin's Room's most valuable asset is a trio of superlative performances: Meryl Streep as the conflicted Lee, Diane Keaton as the saintly-but-frightened Bessie, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the lonely, rebellious Hank. It's impossible to decide who does the best job here. Each has their own particular series of moments, and, by the time the final credits roll, Lee, Bessie, and Hank have been developed into fully-rounded characters. What's more, the often-subtle changes to each of their personalities have been effectively realized by the actors."
Here are some links to some more critical reviews of this movie and the performances of its brilliant cast!
MR Gallery 2
What a delightful and heartwarming movie this is! Anyone who hasn't seen it is really missing a treat! The story involves so many hidden meanings. The dynamics of family relationships is the basic theme of the movie, but the intensities of coping with an illness really defined the story here.
DiCaprio plays Hank, the disturbed youth who is the product of a dysfunctional upbringing. His totally inept and often comical Mother, played by the fantastic Meryl Streep, has left the problems of her own family, an estranged sister, an ailing father and an eccentric aunt, behind. She decided that the burden of caring for her terminally ill father Marvin (played by Hume Cronyn) was more than she wanted to take on....so she long ago left his care in the hands of her compassionate and caring sister, Bessie (played by Diane Keaton, who was nominated for an Academy Award for this performance).
Bessie has just been diagnosed with cancer, and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant....and as a result of this, she contacts her estranged sister Lee, who has just had a crisis of her own...her son Hank has been admitted to a mental hospital after setting fire to their house...
When Lee gets this news, she picks Hank up at the mental institution, and along with his younger brother Charlie...they head for Florida, where they will all be tested as possible matches for a bone marrow transplant for Bessie.
The magical relationship that Hank finds with his Aunt Bessie is a joy to behold...she loves him unconditionally, she understands him and believes in him, something his own mother could never quite accomplish.....and this relationship allows not only Hank to be released from his emotional restraints...but it changes Lee....and allows her a glimpse of what benefits one can reap from 'giving of themselves' to others....
Leonardo was brought into this prestigious mix of acting brilliance by his friend and mentor....Robert DeNiro...who was one of the coproducers, and also one of the costars. He played the role of the often off the wall doctor in charge of Bessie's care. In this film, Leonardo was able to direct his career through another brilliant challenge with flying colors! Acting with such a prestigious and somewhat intimidating cast of performers may have overshadowed some other young stars....but not this one! He turned in another fantastic performance, critically acclaimed and many thought oscar worthy....in his first mainstream film!
This is a touchingly emotional film....filled with some comedic and real moments. As Hank, Leonardo moved out of his pubescent look, and gave us our first glimpse of the handsome young man he was becoming.