Best New Movies to Watch This Week​​

zaib055April 9, 2022

singleREDstarsingleREDstarsingleREDstarsingleREDstarsingleGREYstar As They Made UsR

Jeopardy and Big Bang Theory star and neuroscience professor Mayim Bialik’s writer-director debut is a very fictionalized version of her own family’s experience of her father’s decline and death. Despite awkward plotting, sometimes clunky dialogue and two reconciliation scenes that are unconvincing even if they happened, it has a radiant heart and a sense of deep authenticity that will resonate with anyone who faces such family trauma — that is, most of us. Dustin Hoffman, 84, plays the dad, puckish and funny in flashbacks to middle age, touchingly vulnerable as illness takes hold, yet insisting he’s “fine.” Candice Bergen, 75, is a destructive force of nature as his irascible wife, bickering inseparably with him, in deep denial about his condition, heedlessly offending everyone in her path, and then defiantly saying, “What?” Her lines can have sitcom energy (“We just finally figured out his Lipitor dosage and now he’s going to die? His chiropractor thinks maybe meditation will help”). But the lines in her face eloquently express the bitter grievance of a mom who repels everyone she loves most. The young Bergen couldn’t have pulled off such emotional complexity. Their sound (Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg, who knows Bialik’s real-life story well) won’t talk to his impossible folks for years. Realistically, it’s left to the daughter (Glee star Dianna Agron), a divorced mom with kids and work woes, to somehow rescue everybody. It’s a film packed with home truths, sometimes wordless — like a scene of Hoffman and Bergen in a non-dish-smashing moment, a sweet, frail dance in the living room. —Tim Appelo (TA)

Watch it: As They Made Uscoming April 8 to theaters and on demand

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