Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 16 min.
Our content advisories (1-10): Violence 0; Language 3; Sex/Nudity 2.
Our star rating (1-5): 4
Growing up in a large family often is something that one appreciates only after the fact, both on the part of the family and the parents. Such is the case with the singers, a lively brood of seven sons sired by Meg and Patrick. With just one son at home now, Mag f eels that she is about to follow her dream of becoming a social worker. It is a dream that does not include her estranged husband Patrick. And then something happens that brings him and the sons home again, reawakening old memories and wounds, and sparking a new awareness and appreciation of what a family is.
The crisis is a terrorist bombing of a Marines’ barracks in Saudi Arabia where son Percival is stationed. Knowing only that he was last seen in the ruined building, the family can do nothing but wait and watch the television news reports—and hope that the next knock on the door will not reveal a uniformed messenger with tragic news.
This look into three days of a large family, with its sibling rivalries and jealousies, its near breakdown in the relationship of husband and wife is a fascinating slice of life film. The many ways in which the roles are reversed when children grow up are well delineated also. Susan Sarandon should provide excellent competition to Jodie Foster in the Best Actress nominations. The ending of the film might be a little too pat, but this is a minor flaw in a film that beautifully celebrates the love and sacrifice of family life.
Themes: Family relationships amidst crisis; motherhood as a vocation.