Archives for posts with tag: Julia Roberts

I don’t know enough about schizophrenia to know whether “Fear of Rain” (2021) is portraying or exploiting the condition, but as a film, it’s quite compelling. It follows a path laid out by “Conspiracy Theory,” the 1997 gem with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts that illustrated the idea, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” This time we’re in Young Adult Dramaville as a high school girl struggles to filter reality through multiple demons: teen angst and a crowd of voices inside her head. Someone’s in danger, but can she – and we – figure out who?

It starts out like a cliché rom-com variation in which a spurned wife goes to war against the woman who replaced her. You expect hijinks to ensue and the mismatched moms in “Stepmom” (1998) to eventually unite against some type of greater evil, with hilariously heartwarming results. However, the greater evil is cancer, an uneasy truce suffices for teamwork, sadness befalls everyone, and there’s lots of speeches that sound like they were edited by a committee of Hallmark-approved psychologists. It’s a box-of-Kleenex, pint-of-ice-cream tearjerker that will make you happy it ruined your night, if you’re into these kinds of movies.

Garry Marshall died a few months after the release of “Mother’s Day” (2016) and I can assure you, he took no sitcom-style plot conventions with him to the grave. They’re all here: the younger and sexier second wife, the wacky parents, the sassy black friend, the wedding scene, the hospital scene, the graveyard scene. He did everything but have Fonzie jump a shark again. But that was Marshall’s gift. He could take boilerplate romantic comedy material and pan fry it in enough schmaltz to clog an artery, yet it would always come out satisfying (not great, satisfying). It’s cinematic comfort food.