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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Stepmom (1998)



Reviews and Comments

If it weren't so mechanical and cliched, Stepmom would be the perfect way to show what happens when two people break their oaths to each other and why you simply shouldn't do it. Love is a decision, not a feeling. It boggles my mind that it has become socially acceptable to base the most atomic and important social units on the whims and fickleness of a feeling instead of the solid determination of an unbreakable commitment from which the feelings naturally follow. From two people's mistakes, five suffer. But if only there were some humanity in this contrived and occasionally annoying amalgam of dramatic cliches, the movie would at least make some resounding statement about human relationships.

I kept thinking, while watching this movie, that the opportunities to heal emotional wounds seem to present themselves all too readily. Just when an opportunity to bring the elder child and her stepmother close together is needed, one presents itself. And so on. The timing, magnitude, and direction of each emotional flux can be predicted for each character. There's even a lip-synching scene, where members of a family are brought closer together by frolicking around a bedroom to a popular tune. One of the worst movie-going experiences you can have is to expect no surprises and be right.