Watching this film, Karl Marx’s decree “religion is the opium of the people” kept galloping through my mind; religion can be addictive, controlling, destructive, resulting in anything but perfection.
Kathleen Turner is “Eileen Cleary”, nominated for “Catholic Woman of the Year”; her every neurotic breath is informed by her obsessive/compulsive desire to follow the rules of the Church, eventually attaining perpetual forgiveness, cleansing of her tarnished soul. Turner (sadly missing all shades of the siren in “Body Heat”) gives a genuine performance of a woman locked in archaic conventions; desperately trying to shape her twenty-first century children into nineteenth century molds of tradition. After the New Testament, running a close second, is the over-indulged mantra of “cleanliness is next to godliness”; unfortunately, no matter how tenaciously she prays or vacuums, her son will not be less- divorced or her daughter less -gay.
A “host” of placid, one-dimensional characters rob the film of any depth or adhesive power.
Devoted, dedicated Catholics will writhe with justified ire, when in a heated argument Eileen screams “I don’t have to think, I am a Catholic”.
All prayed for a “final conclusion”, not caring a hoot whether she wins the Catholic Woman of the Year award; her competition was a vindictive, mean-spirited, snipe of a woman. The hierarchy are painted in beige, barely human hues.
I did like the end of “The Perfect Family” but not enough to redeem the pain of having to view such drivel; on the plus side, in the witnessing process, sins of the past, present and future have been expunged.
ONE & 1/2 STARS!
Caveat: Being self-employed has its advantages, there is not enough money in my zip code to induce me to see “Dark Shadows” or “ Whatever Happened to Johnny Depp?”