In this romantic coming-of-age story, director Pat O'Connor returns to territory previously explored in his film Circle of Friends, this time moving the action from Ireland to Illinois. Focusing on two very different families in the same town, the film uses the characters to not only explore the romantic tendancies of young adults, but also class differences in the American 1950's. The story is simple, with no more twists and turns than it needs to establish the mood and get its point across. It's the cast that really makes the movie work though. Each of the principals -- Billy Crudup, Joaquin Phoenix, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, Joanna Going, Will Patton, and Kathy Baker -- is among Hollywood's most capable and subtle performers, and they do not disappoint, making Inventing the Abbotts an actors' film whether it wants to be or not. Deliberately paced, the film might turn off the impatient viewer, but for those willing to give it a chance, an affecting story and rich characters await.
by Matthew Tobey review