My One and Only
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this 1950s-set comedy starring Renee Zellweger is fairly light and frothy in tone, it takes on mature themes like adultery, single parenthood, and divorce's effects on children. In addition to plenty of irresponsible parenting, expect some swearing (including "f--k") and sexuality (including a scene in which a teen girl bares her breasts to a boy, though they're not shown). Still, in the end, the story proves uplifting, even moving, despite some strong life lessons.
What's the story?
Fed up with her philandering husband -- big-band leader Dan Devereaux (Kevin Bacon) -- Ann (Renée Zellweger) takes her two sons in search of a new husband/father. Bookish, serious George (Logan Lerman) and needlepoint-loving wannabe-actor Robbie (Mark Rendall) go along for the ride as their travels take them from New York to Los Angeles, with many stops en route. As one man after another proves to be a disappointment, Ann learns to hone other skills besides her beauty and charm -- but it’s not a lesson that comes easily.
Is it any good?
The real life George Hamilton is known for many things: his campy characters, his numerous cameos, and, of course, his perma-tan. What’s not as well known are the details of his colorful childhood, which are chronicled (and somewhat fictionalized) here. As the young George, Lerman is a find. Subtle when necessary, emotional when called for, he’s a protagonist to root for. So is Zellweger, who plays Ann with aplomb. The actress manages to be sympathetic while playing someone who, despite loving her children, is very selfish. She and the boys make a tight family unit, with Bacon the outsider they adore but can’t quite tame.
Director Richard Loncraine keeps the pace breezy -- appropriate for a film set in the 1950s. The dialogue is equally snappy. But sometimes the gaiety feels forced and the banter theatrical. Though Ann and the boys’ lives sometimes feel perilous, even depressing, disbelief is very much suspended. (You know they barely have any money, but somehow they manage to stay clothed, fed, and housed.) Still, the film works as an escape into a world where tragedies can feel like jaunty misadventures.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Ann and Dan's parenting skills (or lack thereof). Were they disconnected because that was the way parents were in that era? How do they compare to their modern-day counterparts?
How do the kids respond to the chaos around them? Do their reactions seem realistic to you? How does parental conflict affect children?
Why do you think Ann changes over time? Is the
metamorphosis incremental or overnight? What triggers it? Is it believable?