The Myth of Fingerprints

 (43)1 h 30 min1997R
The adult children of a conservative New England family return home for Thanksgiving weekend and find themselves forced to come to grips with their family's dysfunction. The prime difficulty comes from the fact that their parents, particularly their already taciturn and enigmatic father, are rapidly distancing themselves from their children.
Bart Freundlich
Julianne MooreChris BauerArija Bareikis
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Supporting actors
Roy ScheiderNoah WyleHope DavisBlythe DannerJames Le GrosMichael VartanLaurel HollomanBrian Kerwin
Tim PerellMary Jane Skalski
Sony Pictures
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Foul languagesexual contentdrug use
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4.1 out of 5 stars

43 global ratings

  1. 64% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 4% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 17% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 11% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

deeReviewed in the United States on July 13, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Two and a half
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Being generous because of all the good actors here, considering how difficult it must have been to try and bring warmth to such unlikable people. The mother was the only character who didn't deserve to be smacked with a sock filled with horse manure. So dad is a little cold and kooky. Who's father isn't? The little sister has some charm but is like the rest of them in self absorption and selfishness, shamelessly flirting with her sister's boyfriend. And they are all so selfish in their youthfulness that they have to have sex in public like dogs? I am not at all a prude, but having sex on a public conveyance is just creepy and inconsiderate. So is making noise like two rutting water buffalos, knowing everyone in the house can hear you. Again, creepy and inconsiderate. Like the writer and the director of this movie.
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on November 25, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
pretty well-acted but achingly slow
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the "less is more" approach here, in terms of writing and acting. nothing really earth shattering or memorable happens, and like with real life, things don't always get resolved. families really do have a difficult time communicating, don't they? probably why it's easier in this world to make friends. they never expect the kind of things that our relatives and lovers do. overall, not bad, but stilted to the point of inertia. one of the few thanksgiving movies that exist out there. i guess that's a small plus anyway.
One person found this helpful
CRHFLReviewed in the United States on July 22, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A superbly crafted and acted portrait of a family
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A-List actors give A-list performances in this exploration of relationships between adult siblings, their significant others, and their parents. Anyone who's survived a dysfunctional family will be able to relate -- and to appreciate this fine film.
2 people found this helpful
Karen BReviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
great cast
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This is realistic of many families. Some moving scenes. Kida can be brats should learn from love their parents, thry do the best that they can.
Jeff ThalheimerReviewed in the United States on July 25, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
family ties and tears
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I enjoyed this movie a great deal. It has the honesty that so very many miss: children grow up and become who they really are. They are not--exactly--the people their parents were expecting. It also turns out that the parents ARE the same, but re-evaluated by the new adult eyes of the next generation. Love is still very much there, but so is all the new insight, and the very real surprises that come from that insight. There is serious acting involved by all: the new understandings, the not saying much when objections arrive, the attempts to resolve old issues with panache.
This work is beautifully done and a true pleasure to watch.
3 people found this helpful
RALPH PETERSReviewed in the United States on July 13, 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars
Family drama just misses greatness.
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THE MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS follows the grand tradition of ORDINARY PEOPLE and, more recently, THE ICE STORM, in dissecting family relations, jealousies, hatreds, and closely-held secrets. While many characters and situations work, the focus ends up unclear; we are never quite sure what we're supposed to feel, as the characters themselves come across as mostly weak and not all that likeable. The actors fight gamely. Though Roy Scheider is as cold and remote as the winter setting, Blythe Danner and Noah Wyle are uniformly excellent. Overall worth watching but I look forward to director Bart Freundlich's next effort even more. END
9 people found this helpful
D.D.Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Is the family both the centerpoint of our adult strength and the source of our weakness?

The question lingers upon coming to the end of Myth of Fingerprint, and one is left with the age-old family conundrum of love as both an unspoken bond and a lonely device.

This movie about a family gathering at Thanksgiving - always the best time of the year to resurrect demons and compare scars - deals with familial relationships from the aspects of four adult children home for the holiday. The isolated setting of the large New England house amidst the backdrop of the cold and bare landscape is perfect for a film about the difficulties of family communication rendered more glaring when thrust together in an enclosed social setting. Noah Wylie as the son Warren, and Julianne Moore as daughter Mia are the most powerful of the sibling characters, with different and yet similar personalities. Mia is all anger, Warren all emptiness and regret. Both are uncomfortable in their own skin and seem confused about what makes them this way. The mother is the glue of the house, warm and caring, and yet gently and firmly willing to hold up a mirror for each family member to see their reflection.

But it is the father who is central to the story. Emotionally constipated and rigid, he seems almost fearful of his children when he isn't cultivating a detached, yet powerful presence over them. Though he speaks rarely the actions and expressions of the father expose the quiet source of his childrens reciprocated fear. By not saying much verbally he seems to say a lot emotionally.

The beauty and complexity of the movie are the lack of background as to why exactly the children have such a strained relationship with their father, though by his aforementioned actions one hardly needs to guess. Each persons relationship with their family and their significant other (or lack thereof) is examined without intense or excessive social history allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions - perhaps based on their own personal experiences (another powerful aspect of the movie). And at the end a lingering memory, an emotional scar, will explode shattering the tension percolating below the surface of the family living room on Thanksgiving night. The closing two scenes of the father lend a quiet, powerful, and yet tragic beauty that best exemplify the crushing inner weight some carry preventing them from expressing themselves even to those they love.

Unavoidably opinions will differ on particular aspects and the overall enjoyment of the movie, but those differences will say more about the viewer themself and their relationship with their own family than it does upon the film. At its core the capacity to make us examine ourselves and our own relationships is its very power.
4 people found this helpful
carrollReviewed in the United States on May 1, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
the ending was surprisingly great.
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The scenes were quickly moving from one incident to another, but, the ending was surprisingly great.
2 people found this helpful
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