One True Thing
One True Thing (1998)

Carl Franklin directed this family drama adapted from the 1995 novel by former New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen about a young woman who goes back home to take care of her dying mother. In 1987-88, independent Ellen Gulden (Renee… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: September 18, 1998
DVD Release Date: August 10, 1999
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Critic Score: 89% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.

Time Out

The script shifts audience sympathies about quite adroitly, though it's a pity all the men had to be such humbugs.

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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times

One True Thing demonstrates that the power of simple things, the transcendent nature of the ordinary, can make for riveting filmmaking.

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Nell Minow
Common Sense Media

Probably won't appeal to teens.

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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail

A well-oiled machine manufactured to tap our welled-up ducts.

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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

An emotional drama!

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Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide

Carl Franklin's understated direction keeps the tears and life-affirming revelations from congealing into chicken shmaltz for the soul.

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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

Even director Carl Franklin...can't prevent One True Thing from descending into chick-movie hell.

Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune

Meryl Streep is an actress of such transcendent skill and sympathy that she regularly elevates her material, taking it up several notches and giving us feelings, insights, feelings and textures the original writer may have just missed expressing.


There isn't one schmaltzy moment in the entire film, and any tears the viewer sobs into their hankies are well-earned.

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More reviews for One True Thing

Flixster Audience Score: 71% Flixster User Reviews
Nicki Marie
Sad, but very good story about a daughter dealing with the death by cancer of the mother she never really got along with. Surprisingly, this isn't overly… More
John Ballantine
Good but slightly barfy film about daughters and dying mothers. I'm sure if you like that sort of thing, this is right up your alley.
jay nixon
meryl is very touching if only the rest of the movie matched her strong performance
Sunil Jawahir
Renee Zellweger's best film role, made before she was a real name. Meryl Streep is also amazing as her dying mother.
Leigh Ryan
Pretty good and emotional.