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One True Thing Details


Carl Franklin directed this family drama adapted from the 1995 novel by former New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen about a young woman who goes back home to take care of her dying mother. In 1987-88, independent Ellen Gulden (Renee Zellweger), a Harvard grad, is working on a New York Magazine investigative article when she hears from her father, George (William Hurt), a literary critic and university professor. He tells Ellen she's needed at home to care for her mother, Kate (Meryl Streep), who's due for surgery. Ellen needs to get away from the problems of her relationship with her boyfriend Jordan (Nicky Katt), but she plans to continue work on the magazine article from home. In truth, Ellen is uncomfortable with her mother's various ladies club lunches, and holiday preparations, and she finds communication with her mother awkward. Once Ellen arrives back home, she's dismayed to find herself caught in the web of her mother's Middle America activities. Ellen's attitude changes when it becomes apparent this probably will be the final Thanksgiving and Christmas with all family members present. But tensions erupt as long-buried family secrets emerge. Locations in New Jersey were used to create the film's Eastern coastal college town. Shown at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

  • Release date:September 18, 1998


Awarded by
Screen Actors Guild Meryl Streep Best Actress 1998 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Meryl Streep Best Actress 1998 Nominee


Meryl Streep
as Kate Gulden
Renée Zellweger
as Ellen Gulden
William Hurt
as George Gulden
Tom Everett Scott
as Brian Gulden
Lauren Graham
as Jules
Nicky Katt
as Jordan Belzer
James Eckhouse
as District Attorney
Patrick Breen
as Mr. Tweedy
Gerritt Graham
as Oliver Most


Carl Franklin
Jesse Beaton
Harry Ufland
Anna Quindlen
Book Author
Karen Croner
Declan Quinn
Cliff Eidelman
Composer (Music Score)
Carole Kravetz
Paul Peters
Production Designer
Jefferson Sage
Art Director
William W. Wilson III
Executive Producer
Leslie Morgan
Executive Producer
Leslie Pope
Set Designer
Elaine O'Donnell
Set Designer
Donna Zakowska
Costume Designer
Allan Byer
Sound/Sound Designer
Jono Oliver
First Assistant Director
Sam Hoffman
First Assistant Director
Rick Pagano
Chris Norr
Second Unit Director Of Photography
William W. Wilson III
Second Unit Director
Gabor Kover
Second Unit Director Of Photography