Review of "Stepmom" (1998)

Review of "Stepmom" (1998)

This Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon movie always makes me cry

Last night, my husband and I both got home from work at a decent time so we decided to watch a couple of movies before bed. One of them was “The Polar Express”, which we’d already watched once this season. The other one we watched was “Stepmom” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. I love this movie, but I also hate it, because it’s only one of two movies that make me cry every time I watch it. The other is “Beaches” with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

Anyway, like I said, “Stepmom” always makes me cry. “Stepmom” is about a terminally ill woman, Jackie (Sarandon); her two children, Anna and Ben; her ex husband Luke (played by Ed Harris); and the new woman in his life, Isabel (Roberts). Jackie and Luke are divorced, and Luke is dating Isabel, a younger woman. Jackie and Luke share custody of their kids, Anna and Ben. Because Isabel and Luke live together, Isabel shares in the responsibility of Anna and Ben when Luke has the children. Jackie does not approve of Isabel, and the children, especially Anna, do not like her. Isabel tries her hardest to do what is right, but it seems that no matter what she does, Jackie berates her for it. Luke has asked Isabel to marry him, meaning she will officially become stepmom to his kids. This revelation actually seems make things worse between Isabel and Jackie. Several times during while watching the movie last night, I called Jackie the “b” word, even though I knew how it would end.

Jackie learns that she has cancer, and tries to deal with it on her own. Isabel discovers that Jackie is sick, so Jackie finally tells Luke and the kids. The sicker Jackie gets, the more Isabel has to become involved in the kids’ lives. Isabel’s relationship with Anna and Ben improves, and so does her relationship with Jackie. Isabel is a photographer, and Jackie asks her to take photographs of her and the children for Christmas presents she is making for the kids. In the end, when everyone is together celebrating what is sure to be Jackie’s last Christmas, Isabel takes a family photograph of Luke, Jackie and the kids. After Isabel takes that picture, Jackie says it’s time for a photograph of the whole family, and has Isabel come and sit beside her after Isabel sets the timer on the camera. As usual, I was bawling at the end.