The problem with issue movies is that their plots, characters, and dialogue are often dictated by the big questions the filmmakers want to address -- and the predetermined conclusions they want to reach. Twilight of the Golds is no exception. This 1997 made-for-cable movie explores the compelling issue of prenatal genetic testing as it intersects with social attitudes toward homosexuality, but the material never rises above its initial what-if scenario; you can see the feel-good gay-rights ending practically from the very first frame. Grand dame Faye Dunaway and director Garry Marshall, in one of his periodic acting gigs, make a surprisingly good pair as the torn parents of aspiring theater director David Gold and his sister, Suzanne, who discovers she's pregnant with a homosexual child. Jennifer Beals and Brendan Fraser, however, struggle in their roles as the Gold siblings, unable to summon up much depth from such shallow writing. Rosie O'Donnell makes a cameo as a co-worker of Suzanne's who reveals her own infertility at just the right manipulative moment, but such wink-nudge casting decisions aside, this stuff is too choreographed and painfully earnest to connect on any but the most superficial of levels. Throw in a subplot involving David's quest to mount Wagner's epic Ring Cycle as a modern pop operetta and you've got a stinker that combines the worst aspects of an after-school special with the kind of let's-put-on-a-show clichés that Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland rendered redundant back in 1940. There's a nuanced, believable film waiting to be written about this subject, but Twilight of the Golds is not it.
by Brian J. Dillard review