Marvin's Room

Director:Jerry Zaks
Writer:Scott McPherson
Director of Photography:Piotr Sobocinski
Editor:Jim Clark
Music:Rachel Portman
Production Designer:David Gropman
Producers:Scott Rudin, Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro
Miramax; PG-13; 98 minutes
Cast:Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Hume Cronyn, Gwen Verdon and Dan Hedaya
Based on the play by Scott McPherson

Depressing and sentimental, yet buoyed by stellar performances from Keaton, DiCaprio and, of course, Streep. Playwright McPherson died of AIDS, and though the disease is different, Marvin's Room, a poignant family story that manages to find humor in morbidity, is part autobiography. When Bessie (Keaton), who has sacrificed her life to take care of her sick father (Cronyn) and aunt (Verdon), is diagnosed with leukemia, she looks for help in an unlikely source: her estranged sister, Lee (Streep). The rough-at-the-edges cosmetician comes home to test as a bone marrow donor and brings with her some baggage, notably troubled teenage son Hank (DiCaprio). Bessie's compassionate nature helps Hank open up and Lee soften a little. De Niro as Bessie's bumbling doctor adds some much-needed lightweight comedy.