review for The Twilight of the Golds on AllMovie

The Twilight of the Golds (1997)
by Brian J. Dillard review

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.