Movie Review: 'The Deep End of the Ocean' (1999) The first half of this drama, with Pfeiffer and Williams as parents whose 3-year-old son vanishes, is almost unbearably wrenching. It begins in a desperate… 1999-03-12 PG-13 Drama Whoopi Goldberg Michelle Pfeiffer Treat Williams Columbia Pictures
Movie Review

Movie Review: 'The Deep End of the Ocean' (1999)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Mar 12, 1999; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Drama; With: Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams; Distributor: Columbia Pictures

The first half of this drama, with Pfeiffer and Williams as parents whose 3-year-old son vanishes, is almost unbearably wrenching. It begins in a desperate panic, then gets grimmer as hope fades to despair. Far less effective, however, is the rest of the story, set nine years later, when the boy resurfaces. Adapted from Jacquelyn Mitchard's novel, The Deep End of the Ocean delves into a messy mix of post-reunion emotions, only to clean up each conflict too quickly and glibly. (Can a long-lost brother's abandonment issues really be resolved with a game of one-on-one?) But if the film was less than satisfying as a big-screen event, it's still worth renting for Pfeiffer, who valiantly portrays the devastating complexities of grief and guilt.

Originally posted Aug 13, 1999 Published in issue #498 Aug 13, 1999 Order article reprints