An ambitious, keenly observed, and often very funny look at one of life’s most daunting passages, Parenthood’s masterstroke is that it covers the range of the family experience, offering the points of view of everyone in an extended and wildly diverse middle-class family.
At its centre is over-anxious dad Steve Martin, who’ll try anything to alleviate his eight-year-old’s emotional problems, and Mary Steenburgen, his equally conscientious but better-adjusted wife.
Rick Moranis is the yuppie extreme, an excellence-fixated nerd who forces math, languages, Kafka and karate on his three-year-old girl, to the distress of his milder wife (Harley Kozak).
Dianne Wiest is a divorcee and working mother whose rebellious teens (Martha Plimpton and Leaf Phoenix) dump their anger in her lap.
Jason Robards is the acidic patriarch of the family whose neglectful fathering made his eldest son (Martin) grow up with an obsession to do better. The old man is forced to take another shot at fatherhood late in life when his ne’er-do-well, 27-year-old son (Tom Hulce) moves back in.
1989: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Dianne Wiest), Song (‘I Love to See You Smile’)