'Family Pictures - Mini-Series' [+ Digital]
(Anjelica Huston, Sam Neill, Kyra Sedgwick, Dermot Mulroney, Jamie Harold, et al / DVD+Digital / NR / (1993) 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Nina Eberlin comes home to visit her now-divorced parents and while looking through a collection of pictures taken by her father and herself, she reflects on how the pictures illustrate the nature of families.
She begins to tell the story of how her parents discovered their son Randall was autistic and how each reacted to that. Her mother had three more kids, all daughters, "the perfect children."
The controversy over that and Randall's treatment pulls the parents apart. It also forces Nina and her older brother Mack to re-evaluate their relationship with each other and each parent.
DVD Verdict: The mini-series 'Family Pictures' is about a so-called "perfect family" that, well, isn't! David and Lainie Eberlin and their three children Liddie, Mack and Randall are living the American dream in the '50s.
David is a successful psychiatrist and Lainie a homemaker. Their world is turned upside down when it is determined that their youngest, Randall, is autistic.
Now, please take note that this is in the days when theories regarding autism were rather archaic, to say the least. David, being a psychiatrist, believes the theory that the child was rejected in the womb.
However, Lainie responds to the sad news by promptly becoming pregnant with three more children, all daughters, and all in the following three years!
Their father refers to them as the "last straws", which isn't as harsh as it sounds, albeit rather cold, I'll give you that.
The story is told from the oldest of these so-called last straws, Nina's perspective. The family is dysfunctional with mom drinking too much and dad having affairs and Randall is now out of control, at times, but always cared for and protected by Lainie.
This leaves Nina feeling that her mother loves him more than the rest of her children, to whom she refers to as her "perfect babies." The children grow up with various problems, sure, but the story centers mainly on Nina and Mack.
Mack is an shiftless alcoholic with a bond to his brother and coupled with Nina's low self esteem issues and relationship difficulties, they make for a very delicately, precariously balanced couple.
In closing, I enjoyed the movie (and the book from whence it came), because no family is perfect and this family's problems seemed very real. Nina was able to understand herself after coming to terms with her parents and understanding their pain so long ago. It's a message to all of us never to give up and never to take anything at first blush and believe it to be the truth forever. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.