7.0/10
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27 user 27 critic

A Family Thing (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 29 March 1996 (USA)
Earl Pilcher, Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Pearce
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Earl Pilcher Jr.
James Earl Jones ... Ray Murdock
Michael Beach ... Virgil
Irma P. Hall ... Aunt T.
Grace Zabriskie ... Ruby
Regina Taylor ... Ann
Mary Jackson ... Carrie
Paula Marshall ... Karen
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Earl Pilcher Sr. (as James Harrell)
Lauren Leigh Phillips Lauren Leigh Phillips ... Kindra
Ashleigh Jordan Ashleigh Jordan ... Danielle
David Keith ... Sonny
Sandra Quarterman Sandra Quarterman ... Young Aunt T. (as Saundra Quarterman)
Patrice Pitman Quinn Patrice Pitman Quinn ... Willa Mae
Don James Don James ... Junior Turner
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Storyline

Earl Pilcher, Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining he's not her natural son, but the son of a black woman who died in childbirth. Plus, he has a half-brother Ray, in Chicago, she wants him to visit. Earl makes the trip, initially receiving a cold welcome from Ray and Ray's son, Virgil. His birth mother's sister, Aunt T., an aged and blind matriarch, takes Earl in tow and insists that the family open up to him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

With family, everything is relative. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, brief violence and a childbirth scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the storyline has James Earl Jones' character being about six years older than Robert Duvall's character, Duvall is older than Jones by twelve days. See more »

Goofs

When Virgil & Ray are together in Virgil's car near the end Ray says that he hasn't been back to Virgil's hometown for 60 years which would be the birth year for Virgil however in an earlier scene Ray had confessed to having scarred Virgil by throwing a rock which had hit him as Virgil & his father were exiting a store. See more »

Quotes

Aunt T.: Don't know why anybody'd eat unsalted butter. Might as well eat Vaseline. Got about as much flavor.
See more »

Connections

Features Rocky III (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Gonna Get Faded
Written by Les Pierce
Produced by Nick Trevisick and Les Pierce
Performed by Les Pierce
See more »

User Reviews

Acceptance & forgiveness - if only it was this easy
24 September 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

A Family Thing is a drama about a Southen man (Duvall) who's mother reveals on her deathbed that he was not her child. Rather he was the result of a forced encounter between his father and the black help. In order to keep a promise Duvall sets off to find his half-brother (Earl-Jones).

Although the story seems to be about race - it's main theme is one of forgiveness and acceptance of others, with race being one of the barriers to break down.

All the characters have their own barriers to overcome - Duvall has to confront the fact that he is not white, Earl-Jones has to deal with his hatred of past events and Michael Beach has to come to terms with missing out on pro-football and the breakup of his marriage. Only the sagely aunt T. (Irma P. Hall) has the ability to accept everyone for whom they are - partly due to being blind "and not being able to judge folks on what they look like".

It's not an earth shattering piece of story telling and at times doesn't seem to have a consistent flow to it but it held my attention throughout and was actually quite rewarding.

It's all a bit tidy (in real life, nothing gets sorted this easy), but it definately makes you think.


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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Family Thing See more »

Filming Locations:

Covington, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,020,662, 31 March 1996

Gross USA:

$10,125,417

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,125,417
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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