Unstrung Heroes (1995)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Childhood Drama, Family Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 15, 1995 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Michael Costello

Diane Keaton's first effort as a director is an impressively lyrical tragicomedy about a young boy growing up in an eccentric family. When the mother (Andie MacDowell) of 12-year-old Steven (Nathan Watt) is diagnosed with cancer, his nutty inventor father (John Turturro) is so deeply affected, his son can no longer reach him. The boy decides to go live with his even more eccentric uncles (Michael Richards and Maury Chaykin) in a fleabag hotel. Keaton skillfully balances humor and pathos of these lives, charting the reactions of a bright kid who wonders how he wound up in such a strange menagerie. The characters are well developed, and Keaton makes the love that exists between them so clear that, along with the boy, one begins to realize that the emotional support one needs can sometimes come from the strangest places. The performances are uniformly excellent, including a very unmannered and persuasive performance from Nathan Watt. Keaton, who has long had a reputation as a still photographer, displays a keen eye for the telling detail.