Forbidden love and impossible dreams intertwine when the handsome working-class Holt brothers are drawn to the beautiful and wealthy Abbott sisters. Sparks fly, passion flare, and family loyalties are suddenly torn and tes... more »ted against a small town backdrop of social boundaries and dark secrets. Starring Liv Tyler and an all-star cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly, "Inventing the Abbotts" re-invents the trials and triumphs of coming of age in a time of innocence that was anything but.« less
Amazing storyline that kept you wondering what would happen next. Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly and Will Patton were much younger actors and Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup really shined in this one!
Angela B. from CINCINNATI, OH Reviewed on 1/13/2011...
Taken from the short story from Sue Miller. Inventing The Abott's is about two boys from the wrong side of town and three socialite daughters. The movie has Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup who play the brothers. Their mother is a single mother working as a teacher to support the family. In a time when women were married and stayed home. The story intertwines Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup's family with that of the aristocratic family played by Will Patton and his three daughters Joanna Going, Jennifer Conley and Liv Tyler. Both families struggle with the complexies of societies views and what is expected of them as well a mistaken belief by the boys. The story has a romantic side to it along with Michael Keaton narrating the story. When you don't have something you invent it, the boys invent the life they think they want, but is it what they think it is. See the movie and you will come to understand that Inventing The Abotts is something that many do.
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Mary Jane T. (MJ) from SPOTSYLVANIA, VA Reviewed on 4/3/2009...
VERY ENJOYABLE MOVIE.
1 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
If the Abbotts Didn't Exist Jacey Would Have Invented Them
Scott Bright | Grayslake, IL USA | 08/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Movie Summary: In a small 1950's Illinois town the Abbotts are the family everyone talks about. They are rich and have three beautiful daughters. Their parties are the things of legend in the town. On the other side of the tracks live the Holts. Mrs. Holt has had to raise her two sons, Jacey and Doug, by herself since her husband passed away. The Holts and Abbotts have a long history, some real, some invented. It is this history, the real and the invented, that the Holt brothers have to come to terms with before it destroys them and the Abbotts. My Opinion: This was a very engaging movie with a great cast. Kathy Baker and Joaquin Phoenix were very enjoyable. Michael Keaton's narration adds a touch that makes the movie seem better than it is. I loved the 1950's small town setting as well as the semi-complicated plot. The viewer discovers the secrets of the past at the same time as the brothers do. We see how differently each of them deals with it and get to make our own decision as well. The bothers struggle with the revelations of the past and each find a way to deal with it. It is the different interpretations and actions that each of the brothers takes that is at the core of this story. After watching the movie, I find that I liked it more while I was watching it than I do now. The plot seems to lack that big punch that would make it stay with me and taunt me to watch it again. That aside, it is still worth seeing.DVD Quality: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 DD5.1 Picture and sound were great with no noticeable defects. Extra features consist of the trailer and a featurette. The main menu is interesting. What You Should Do: Rent it if you are into historical pieces. It?s a decent movie but you?ll only need to see it once. This DVD release is nothing special.Related Movies To Check Out: Waking the Dead, Almost Famous, To Kill a Mockingbird, Outside Providence"
A rare acting school for young actors
J. P. Ferraz | HOUSTON, TX USA | 01/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Few movies I've seen provide, 7 years after its making, a retrospective of great actors and actresses in the make. Just watch the movie and then fish for recent works with each of those young talents.From Crudup to Joaquin to Tyler to Going to Jenniffer Connelly - what we see in Inventing the Abbotts is an amazing set of performers reaching to stardoom. I believe the film should be classified as mandatory in acting schools.For the rest, I believe this script is as close to reality as it can get. A small town, a wealthy family, a classic rich/poor idiosyncratic drama, false assumptions which could ruin lives, hard working single parents, young daughters struggling with the coming of age, ... all quite well integrated into a movie which is delightful to see and to call your attention for preemptive judgement.Joanna Going, Liv Tyler and Jenniffer Connelly are absolutely remarkable and beautiful. Yet the prize goes to Joaquin, for his amazing performance."
Engaging Story, Good Performances
Reviewer | 05/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The lives of two brothers living in a small town in Illinois are profoundly affected by an alleged incident which took place even before one of them was born, in "Inventing the Abbotts," directed by Pat O'Connor. The Abbotts are one of the wealthiest, most respected families in Haley, Illinois; Lloyd Abbott (Will Patton) is a successful businessman who, along with his wife, Joan (Barbara Williams), has raised three daughters, the oldest of whom, Alice (Joanna Going), is about to be married, while the youngest, Pamela (Liv Tyler), is about to graduate from high school. The Holts, on the other hand, are from the other side of the tracks, and Helen Holt (Kathy Baker) has had to raise her boys on her own. John (Billy Crudup), the oldest, was two-years-old when his father was killed in an accident, while Helen was pregnant with his brother, Doug (Joaquin Phoenix). There's no mystery about what happened in the accident; the bone of contention concerns what happened afterwards-- at least in the eyes of John, even all these years later as he is about to enter collage. John and Doug's father, it seems, had been business partners with Lloyd Abbott, but after his death, a patent that Mr. Holt owned somehow ended up in Lloyd Abbott's name, making him a wealthy man, while the Holt's ended up in their current state of affairs-- not exactly poor, but barely making ends meet. And since his youth, John has been fixated with the Abbotts, especially their daughters, and one in particular, Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly). But as with most things involving an obsession, it only put John on a lifelong emotional road to nowhere. Told from Doug's point of view, the story becomes a lesson in life; when to leave the baggage of things best forgotten behind and move on. Phoenix gives an affecting performance as Doug, who has an on-again-off-again relationship with Pamela, the one sister who is, "Just there," as she says (according to her, Alice is the "good" one, Eleanor the "bad"). He captures that sense of being at an age when uncertainty is the only absolute, and you feel his need to search and seek out that toe-hold on life that is often elusive to the young. There's an understated ring of truth in his portrayal that adds that depth which makes his character credible, and one to whom it is easy to relate. Crudup delivers, as well, with a performance wound in introspective tension so tightly that there are moments when it seems almost tangible. He carries a burden-- that from which his obsession was born-- and it shows. John has so much going for him (the love of his mother and brother; good looks; intelligence), that watching him suffer so emotionally-- even at arm's length-- is sad to see, especially in light of the fact that it is so unnecessary. Still, some of his actions (especially one late in the film) are intrinsically almost too brutal to forgive; only so much, after all, can be buried amid rationalization. In the end, you feel for him, but only so far; and then you are compelled to do what he could not-- you move on. As Pamela, Liv Tyler turns in a reserved performance that captures something of that same sense of confusion reflected in Doug's character. A bit more grounded, perhaps, but there is still that "searching" going on within her. Connelly, meanwhile, gets into her role as the"bad" sister with relish, exuding a self-assured sexual tension qualified with just enough restraint to make Eleanor a memorable and effective character. Going does a nice job, also, though by the nature of her character alone, she is bound to be somewhat overshadowed by Tyler and Connelly. The supporting cast includes Michael Sutton (Steve), Alessandro Nivola (Peter), Shawn Hatosy (Victor) and Michael Keaton as the narrator. An engaging and often poignant drama, "Inventing the Abbotts" puts love, loss and confusion (one might say the mainstays of life) into perspective, and illustrates that how we deal with it all is not necessarily a matter of individual choice. Some, in fact, just may have to invent whatever it is they need to hang onto. At one point in the film, Doug says of his brother, "If the Abbotts hadn't existed, John would've invented them." And maybe that's the way it is; taking life as it comes and dealing with it the best way you know how."
A rare love story with plot twists
David A. Bede | Singapore | 06/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on a rather depressing short story, this is the only movie I've seen which I can honestly say is better than the book it's based on. It still surprises me that the critics weren't more impressed with it than they were.Although Inventing the Abbotts is centered on two well-treaded themes - love across a class divide and bad blood between families - it takes enough of a new approach to avoid cliches. For one thing, the animosity between the rich Abbotts and the working-class Holts is selective, with varying degrees of friendship and respect between certain members of each family showing through alongside the bitterness between others. The exact cause of that bitterness, centered on a long-ago business deal between the two families' fathers, is a combination of mystery and misinformation to the main character, Doug (Joaquim Phoenix). The resolution of that mystery plays out alongside Doug's changing relationship with the Abbotts' youngest daughter, Pamela (Liv Tyler) throughout the film, thus preventing the forbidden-love motif from becoming overbearing.But the movie does remain a love story at heart, and Phoenix and Tyler are remarkably well-suited to the task. (They apparently were a real-life item for some time after filming - and the sincerity shows.) Complicating the picture are Doug's bitter, jealous elder brother Jaycee (Billy Crudup), who sows discord among both families throughout the film; Pamela's troubled relationship with her sisters and parents; and the hazards of growing up in general. In keeping with the avoidance of stereotypes and cliches, character development is strong almost across the board. The Holts' relative poverty is neither romanticized nor used exploitatively; and if the Abbotts prove that money can't buy happiness, neither are they made out to be shallow or heartless. The 1950s setting is painstakingly executed as well, featuring a Smithsonian-worthy collection of period appliances, furniture and other everyday items (not to mention an authentic Greyhound bus). The lack of any racial diversity or an overtly political message about that era's injustices might be of some concern to the sensitivities of the politically correct, but the film does in fact address some such concerns (particuarlry the oppression of women) in a subtle but effective fashion.For my money, this is perhaps the most underrated movie of the 1990s. Buy it while it's available!"
Once Eleanor leaves...
Amanda M. Rogers | 07/07/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has so much potential and to tell you the truth when it's on T.v or when I feel like watching something familiar it is still something I watch. The problem is that with so much potential the story fails. The story loses focus as to what the brothers wanted in the first place, especially JC played by Billy Crudup.
All of the actors are great, but Jennifer Connelly made the movies worth watching she draws the audience with her mishievous and tempetous Eleanor. If she was ever cast as a villain she would be the pitch perfect but so far in her career this is as close as she gets to playing bad and she does with such a subtle hint of seduction that as an audience member it is mindboggling when the writer director whoever decided to yank her character 30 minutes in. A shame a true shame.
What we are left with is a skeleton of a movie till the end when Joaquin Phoenix's character Doug returns to his primary motivation and the story gets back on track.
This movie isn't bad. IT is entertaining and watchable but is is so disappointing to think what could have been/\."