Movie Madness Mondays: Stepmom


“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” -Erma Bombeck
Families are just as complex as anything else in this world; they come with different personalities, in all sizes; in all different combinations possible- families with single parents, divorced parents, step parents, with one child, with eighteen children… the list can go on and on. Stepmom tells the story of a family going through the many obstacles that come when parents divorce and remarriage comes into the picture.
Anna Harrison (Jena Malone) is someone everyone can identify with at some point. She’s an emotional teen ager who is not accepting of her father’s choice to divorce her mother and re-marry a younger woman, who she does not get along with at all. In the beginning, Anna treats her stepmother very harshly, as if she is trying to annoy her enough to leave her father. Anna gets over her initial hatred over her stepmom when she realizes that she actually has a lot in common with her. Soon, Anna goes to her looking for advice about how she should get revenge on a boy in her class for embarrassing her (Sounds like something we all wanted to do at some point in our lives, right?).
Stepmom also tells the story of the Isabel Kelly (Julia Roberts), who’s trying to gain the respect of her new step-children and their mother, as well as learning to become a responsible mother, and who can balance a career as a star photographer. Although this turns out to be rocky at first, Isabel soon gains the respect of her step-daughter, which seemed to be the most daunting obstacle to overcome.
One of the more touching stories in Stepmom, is the story of Jackie Harrison (Susan Sarandon), Anna’s mother. The relationship between Jackie and Isabel is full of tension and anger. For Jackie, she is forced to be alone for the first time in her life, and also has to deal with Isabel; who is being a parent for the fi rst time in her life. For someone like Jackie, who lives on a tight schedule, Isabel’s mistakes make her furious, and deemed unfit to care for her children. Everything seems to change when Jackie is diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in her life. She realizes that she will not live forever, so instead of fighting with Isabel, she helps her become the stepmother she wants to look after her children when she’s gone.
Stepmom has strong, diverse, female characters, all of whom battle and learn from their mistakes and first judgments. To make it short and sweet, Stepmom tells the heartwarming story of family; a family with all of its ups and downs, tragedies and successes. It shows us that even though family may be annoying at times, it’s something we can’t change, so we must to embrace all the annoyances and quirks that come along with having one.
~Next Week’s Movie: to be announced~ 😀
If you’d like to review “Erin Brockovich” please e-mail us at and let us know!


9 Responses to “Movie Madness Mondays: Stepmom”

  1. G Says:

    This is the first movie on the list so far that I had not seen, so I figured I’d give it a try and watch and even though I’m not so good at using my words to communicate coherent thoughts, I’ll try and comment. I’ll admit, this movie didn’t look like my cup of tea when I read the description on the back of the case at Blockbuster, but I watched it and it was one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride for the characters. I surprised myself and liked the movie, heehee. Being the cynic I am, it was touching to see a story in which two people put their differences and feelings for each other aside and try to get along for the sake of others, mainly their family. It showed the good and positive side of the human being as opposed to the selfish side most of us get to see all of the time. Over all, it was heart-warming (in some cases heart-melting) movie. Good pick.

  2. Lydia Says:

    This movie leanrs us that we can be good human beings, to each other.

    May I suggest ‘Under Tuscan Sun’ or ‘Chocolate’?

  3. Lydia Says:

    On second thought…forget Chocolate…I would definitely recommend ‘Under Tuscan Sun’. It’s one of my all time favorite movies.

    It has a strong female leading character (played by Diane Lane), friendship, beauty, food, a mixture of cultures and some pretty interesting life lessons and messages.

    It doesn’t matter if this movie gets chosen or not, you should see it anyway. 🙂

  4. Denise Says:

    Nice review. I love the quote you used in the beginning.

  5. Emma Says:

    Nice one Alicia! This is a good all-round review!
    I like this movie too; especially the way it challenges female relationships, i.e. your role as a stepmom vs ex-wife vs daughter vs step-daughter vs girlfriend etc. A good cast!
    There are usually always those misunderstandings in the early stages of female relationships; often it’s because people harbour resentment or because of a guy or something. But the ending says it all, when Jackie tells Isabel to come and pose for the family photo 🙂

  6. Lola Says:

    Good review! =)

  7. superkurre Says:

    I’ve seen Stepmom ages ago and it was a very sweet film. Films like this aren’t usually what I watch voluntarily, but I liked it. Being put into new situations isn’t easy for anyone, but I think the movie managed to get the message across that not all change is bad and some things we just have to learn to live with, no matter how painful they are.

    I would like to second the suggestion of Under The Tuscan Sun, or Little Women, which is such a good film. But the book is better…

  8. jennifer Says:

    Stepmom was a sad but great movie. Your review was great Marianne. I like the part when Anna tells off that boy at school and when Jackie says “Yeah if you like big teeth”

    I would recommend the movie Now and Then.

  9. Marianne Says:

    @ Jennifer: Thanks, but it was Alicia who reviewed the movie, this time!! She did do a great job, though!

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