Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.
out of 100
Metascore®Generally favorable reviewsbased on a weighted average of allcritic review scores.
The handful of powerful speeches here do little, however, to offset story weaknesses that also include soft-edged characterizations, a faintly patronizing air regarding the black characters and a general avoidance of the issue most viewers will want to see addressed.
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It's likely to be overrated by some and underrated by others, and both contingents will be wrong. One can't, however, overrate the performances, with auntie ruling the roost in more ways than one. [29 Mar 1996, p.4D]
Any other writers handed this premise would probably play it for cheap laughs, but Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson have made an earnest drama out of it, one lightened by a few affectionate laughs and much heartfelt sentimentality.
Neither flashy nor dishonest, a wizard with restraint, Pearce has a gift for discovering the excitement in honest human behavior, and working from an acute script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson, he's able to dramatize the story's essence without forcing the issue.
The situations are more or less standard (fights over sleeping arrangements, emergencies that have to be solved, moments of truth and confession), but the dialogue and the acting bring the material up to another level.
Despite its good intentions, A Family Thing could easily have been a mediocre drama, but the excellent performances elevate the film considerably.
In A Family Thing, an earnest upbeat fable about the meaning of brotherhood in America, first-rate film acting infuses a contrived story with enough flesh, blood, wrinkles, warts and beads of sweat to make it intermittently surge to life.
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