Definitely no comedy, Immed iate Family nonetheless explodes with bursts of laughter that lighten the heartbreak of a lot of nice people tormented by their own best intentions.
For Solomon and generations of juvenile judges since, there’s no tougher case to call than competing claims for a baby. But Solomon’s solution wouldn’t work for Family, in which Glenn Close and Mary Stuart Masterson are each so deserving.
Granted, the plot requires no elaborate examination: after 11 years of marriage, James Woods and Glenn Close are still achingly childless. After no years of marriage, young Mary Stuart Masterson and boyfriend Kevin Dillon face impending parenthood under circumstances that could wreck their chances for a happier life later.
The solution, so obviously simple in a lawyer’s office, is that Woods and Close will adopt Masterson’s baby. But first the lawyer thinks everybody should get better acquainted.
Clever as she is, Close keeps her potentially cloying part understated; there’s no need to hang a sign on her suffering. Young Masterson is simply superb, managing to first earn the audience’s sympathy and then keep hold when some might be tempted to turn away.