Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Perfect Family": Kathleen Turner Deserves More 

Wednesday, May 9 2012

There's a vague echo of John Waters's film Serial Mom in director Anne Renton's The Perfect Family. But where Waters's satiric look at the lengths to which a mom would go to maintain the illusion (if not delusion) of her idealized family struck the balance between vinegar and lemonade, Renton's competing tones and intentions result in a film at odds with itself and its lead performance. Eileen (Kathleen Turner) is consumed by the Catholic Church and its doctrine — so much so that her nonstop charitable work for the church leads to her priest (Richard Chamberlain) nominating her for Catholic Woman of the Year, pitting her against childhood rival Agnes (Sharon Lawrence). What the good father doesn't know is that Eileen's son is an adulterer, her daughter is a pregnant lesbian living with her partner, and Eileen's own marriage is a sham. The script, co-written by Claire V. Riley and Paula Goldberg, oscillates between Lifetime-channel melodrama, lazy barbs ("I don't have to think. I'm a Catholic.") and facile irony (the song "It's a Perfect Day" playing on the car radio). It never synthesizes into something whole or believable. That's unfortunate because there are moments when Turner telegraphs a palpable sadness and anguish beneath Eileen's rigid morality (including homophobia) that makes you wish she and her character were in a smarter film.

About The Author

Eric Hynes


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"