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When Jack Scanlan passes away just before telling his son, Johnny what was really important in life, Johnny begins to wonder if he's let life pass him by. With the funeral as backdrop, all the Scanlans appear, each with an interesting situation. One of Johnny's sisters is divorced but hasn't told anyone, the sister who is a nun is now into liberation theology and has an illegal immigrant with her, and Tony is fighting for control of his father's union. Johnny and Terry (the divorced sister) both think that they may have found true love in the chaos (though what Johnny's wife thinks of it is up for grabs) as Johnny tries to make some kind of sense out of the various strains in his family.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Passed Away already had a good amount going for it due to some great casting and that it contained some story strands that when done well could be easily relatable and fun. Passed Away is an entertaining film definitely but it could have been a hilarious one.
For my liking, the film did feel at times like there were too many characters, a few of them quickly introduced and with not enough time spent on them. In particular Jack Warden's, if with longer screen time it would have made what impact he had on the other characters a little more believable. The film is mostly well-paced but sometimes, like in the first half, is like being in start-stop-start traffic. And not all the situations work, Bob Hoskins' situation is very easy to relate to but felt a little underdeveloped and while Tim Curry does a good job a few of Boyd's scenes came over as a little awkward.
However, a vast majority of the time works very nicely. It's very nicely filmed and the scenery and such are lovely. Richard Gibbs' music is a good fit and while it doesn't stay in one's mind for a long time it's not obtrusive or forgettable either. The script is well above average, high in witty quips and gets wackier and wackier in a delicious way. The story is quite neatly told and most of the situations do work, especially William Petersen's personal and professional problems, Pamela Reed's passion for embalmer Peter Riegert and liberated nun Frances McDormand's deadpan Marxism. Passed Away is solidly directed by Charlie Peters and has an exceptional ensemble cast, with the standouts being William Petersen, Nancy Travis, Frances McDormand and Maureen Stapleton. The late Bob Hoskins is no slouch either carrying the film, Peter Riegert is always good value and Pamela Reed and Tim Curry do reliably.
In conclusion, an uneven film but an entertaining one also. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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