When I first saw this film I really liked it, mainly because it wasn't a formula film and I couldn't begin to figure out what would happen next. I hadn't seen anything like this for years: it was like a 1930s domestic comedy - driven by character and dialogue, rather than by action. The film was based on a 1985 Pulitzer-nominated novel by Anne Tyler, (I liked the film so much I went out and read the novel and now Anne Tyler is one of my favourite novelists.)
The actors playing the central characters - William Hurt as Macon Leary, Kathleen Turner as his wife and Geena Davis all give really good performances. Davis's portrayal of whacky Muriel Pritchett won her an Oscar for best supporting actress, but Hurt and Turner, playing a couple traumatised by the tragic death of their young son, are much less 'animated' and more subtle, and totally believable. Indeed Hurt plays his part as though he is sleep walking and still manages to earn our sympathy. The supporting cast also shines, particularly Leary's sister and brothers and Pritchett's young son. Lawrence Kasdan's direction is fairly low-key but brilliantly catches all the nuances of this family saga and the film really deserved its Oscar nomination for best picture.