Once Kramer vs. Kramer set the style, family melodramas became more and more concerned with the elimination of the mother; this one, directed by Robert Lieberman from a script by David Seltzer (Six Weeks), takes a brutally explicit tack, bumping off mom in a car wreck in order to allow estranged father Jon Voight to reconquer the affections of his three children. The rest of the film follows the established formula, as the good-for-nothing Voight matures in his new responsibility, another mother figure (Marie-Christine Barrault) is quietly dismissed. Calculated and, just beneath the surface, quite cruel, this is yet another emotionally dishonest film about emotional honesty. With Millie Perkins and Richard Crenna (1983).
By Dave Kehr