A lonely spinster (Diane Keaton) who has cared for her infirmed father (Hume Cronyn) for many years is given a leukemia diagnosis. Reluctantly she calls her estranged sister in Ohio (Meryl Streep), a single mother whose mentally unstable son (Leonardo DiCaprio) has just torched their home, to travel to Florida to perform the necessary tests. When the boy does in fact prove to be a match, the newly formed, distinctive bond between nephew and aunt reopens old wounds between the sisters and gradually leads them down the path of conciliation. From Scott McPherson’s play, Marvin’s Room is warmhearted and funny, a unique take on both the disease and dysfunctional family movie. Keaton and Streep are outstanding, Leo shines in an amusing and challenging role, and Robert De Niro, Dan Hedaya, and especially Gwen Verdon are hilarious in supporting performances.
*** 1/2 out of ****