The Good Mother (1988)

R | 104 mins | Drama, Romance | 4 November 1988

Director:

Leonard Nimoy

Writer:

Michael Bortman

Producer:

Arnold Glimcher

Cinematographer:

David Watkin

Editor:

Peter Berger

Production Designer:

I. Stanford Jolley

Production Companies:

Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV
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HISTORY

The film begins and ends with voice-over narration by Diane Keaton as her character, "Anna Dunlap."
       On 19 Mar 1986, HR announced that The Walt Disney Company had purchased film rights to Sue Miller’s as yet unpublished first novel, The Good Mother. According to a 27 Nov 1988 LAT column, producer Arnold Glimcher stated that he was “deeply moved” by the controversial story and “[outraged] at the prejudices still existing toward women.”
       The 9 Nov 1987 issue of People magazine stated that Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand were rumored to direct before Leonard Nimoy joined the project.
       According to the 19 Apr 1988 HR, principal photography began 15 Apr 1988. Production notes indicate that filming took place in Boston and Cambridge, MA, where Nimoy was raised and Glimcher attended college. Locations included the Jazz Club, Quincy Market, Union Oyster House, Faneuil Hall, and Harvard Square. After six days in Massachusetts, production moved to Toronto, Canada, for interior scenes set in Anna’s apartment, “Tommy’s Grill,” “Leo’s” loft, and the courtroom. Glimcher, an established art collector, reportedly assisted in the decoration of Leo’s art studio. The Adamson Estate in nearby Mississauga stood in as the “McCord” family’s Connecticut mansion, while Pinewood Cottage on Whitefish Lake in Parry Sound, Ontario, doubled as their Maine summer retreat.
       A 28 Oct 1988 HR item announced that The Good Mother was scheduled to premiere as the opening night attraction at the Virginia Festival of American Film that evening in Charlottesville.
       Despite the popularity of Miller’s novel, the film was considered a critical and commercial disappointment. The Jan 1989 issue of ... More Less

The film begins and ends with voice-over narration by Diane Keaton as her character, "Anna Dunlap."
       On 19 Mar 1986, HR announced that The Walt Disney Company had purchased film rights to Sue Miller’s as yet unpublished first novel, The Good Mother. According to a 27 Nov 1988 LAT column, producer Arnold Glimcher stated that he was “deeply moved” by the controversial story and “[outraged] at the prejudices still existing toward women.”
       The 9 Nov 1987 issue of People magazine stated that Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand were rumored to direct before Leonard Nimoy joined the project.
       According to the 19 Apr 1988 HR, principal photography began 15 Apr 1988. Production notes indicate that filming took place in Boston and Cambridge, MA, where Nimoy was raised and Glimcher attended college. Locations included the Jazz Club, Quincy Market, Union Oyster House, Faneuil Hall, and Harvard Square. After six days in Massachusetts, production moved to Toronto, Canada, for interior scenes set in Anna’s apartment, “Tommy’s Grill,” “Leo’s” loft, and the courtroom. Glimcher, an established art collector, reportedly assisted in the decoration of Leo’s art studio. The Adamson Estate in nearby Mississauga stood in as the “McCord” family’s Connecticut mansion, while Pinewood Cottage on Whitefish Lake in Parry Sound, Ontario, doubled as their Maine summer retreat.
       A 28 Oct 1988 HR item announced that The Good Mother was scheduled to premiere as the opening night attraction at the Virginia Festival of American Film that evening in Charlottesville.
       Despite the popularity of Miller’s novel, the film was considered a critical and commercial disappointment. The Jan 1989 issue of Box reported a four-week gross of just $4.9 million.
       End credits include the following acknowledgement: "Sculptures by David Hacker, Courtesy of Anne Plumb Gallery."
       End credits state: “Producers Wish to Thank: Joe Kelly, City of Toronto, The Massachusetts Film Office, City of Boston”; “With Special Thanks to: The Ontario Government, The Ontario Film Development Corporation”; and, “Filmed on location in Ontario, Canada, and Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1989
Section R, p. 112.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
27 Nov 1988.
---
New York Times
4 Nov 1988
Section C, p. 15.
People
9 Nov 1987
p. 39.
Variety
2 Nov 1988
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures presents
In Association with Silver Screen Partners IV
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, Boston crew
2d 2d asst dir, Boston crew
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam op
1st asst cam op
2d asst cam op
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
1st cam asst, Boston crew
1st cam asst, Boston crew
2d cam op, Boston crew
2d cam asst, Boston crew
Key grip, Boston crew
Dolly grip, Boston crew
Best boy grip, Boston crew
Gaffer, Boston crew
Best boy, Boston crew
Cam and lighting equip from
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed, Los Angeles
Asst ed, Toronto
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Asst set dec
Asst set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Scenic artist
Props, Boston crew
Scenic artist, Boston crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Asst ward, Boston crew
MUSIC
Mus editing
Ondes Martenot solo by
Supv mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff asst
Sd eff asst
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Prod sd mixer
Prod sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Diane Keaton's makeup by
Makeup asst, Boston crew
Hair, Boston crew
Hair, Boston crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod coord
Scr supv
Project consultant
Asst to Leonard Nimoy
Asst to Arnold Glimcher
Transportation coord
Prod accountant
Casting (Toronto)
Extras casting (Toronto)
Extras casting (Toronto)
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Piano coach
Piano instructor to Ms. Keaton
Loc mgr, Boston crew
Prod coord, Boston crew
Transportation capt, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Prod asst, Boston crew
Casting, Boston crew
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the novel The Good Mother by Sue Miller (New York, 1986).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Vol. 1, No. 4 - Allegro," From: For Children, written by Bela Bartok
"Blue Times Blue," written by Greg Piccolo, performed by Roomful of Blues, featuring Arlene Bennett
"Whiplash," written by Greg Piccolo, performed by Roomful of Blues, featuring Arlene Bennett
+
SONGS
"Vol. 1, No. 4 - Allegro," From: For Children, written by Bela Bartok
"Blue Times Blue," written by Greg Piccolo, performed by Roomful of Blues, featuring Arlene Bennett
"Whiplash," written by Greg Piccolo, performed by Roomful of Blues, featuring Arlene Bennett
"Up Tight (Everything's Alright)," written by Henry Cosby, Stevie Wonder & Sylvia Moy, performed by Jackie Wilson, courtesy of Brunswick Records
"Just Like U Said It Would B," written by Sinéad O'Connor & Steve Wickham, performed by Sinéad O'Connor, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"Inisheer," written by Thomas Walsh, arranged & performed by Buttons & Bows, courtesy of Green Linnet Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 November 1988
Premiere Information:
Virginia Festival of American Film premiere: 28 October 1988
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 November 1988
Production Date:
began 15 April 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures, a.a.d.o, the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
9 November 1988
Copyright Number:
PA384853
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29383
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While spending summers at her grandparents’ lake house in Maine, sheltered young Anna Dunlap develops a close relationship with her rebellious and free-spirited Aunt Babe. When Babe becomes pregnant, the family forces her to move to Switzerland and give up the child for adoption. Eventually, Babe develops a drinking problem and drowns while swimming in the lake. Several years later, Anna is a divorced single mother in Boston, Massachusetts, working an unfulfilling part-time job to supplement her income as a piano teacher. Inspired by Babe’s passionate outlook on life, Anna hopes to give her six-year-old daughter, Molly, a less repressed upbringing, and uses books to teach her about sex. Her grandfather, Frank McCord, criticizes her choice to send Molly to daycare, and offers to pay for a full-time nanny. Anna staunchly refuses, stating that she values her independence. One weekend at the Laundromat, she meets an Irish-born, Yale University-educated sculptor named Leo Cutter. Although she initially rebuffs his advances, the two begin a passionate affair, marking Anna’s first truly intoxicating sexual relationship. As she gradually learns to let go of her inhibitions, Leo spends more time at the apartment and earns Molly’s trust. One day, Anna’s former husband, Brian, shows up at the door and announces that he intends to file for sole custody of their daughter. Anna is dumbfounded, but Brian implies that Leo has done something inappropriate. During a meeting with Anna’s lawyer, Mr. Muth, Leo reveals that Molly once interrupted him in the shower and asked to touch his genitals. Although slightly embarrassed, he hoped to support Anna’s open attitude toward Molly’s sexual education, and gave the girl permission. The incident passed without consequence until Molly ... +


While spending summers at her grandparents’ lake house in Maine, sheltered young Anna Dunlap develops a close relationship with her rebellious and free-spirited Aunt Babe. When Babe becomes pregnant, the family forces her to move to Switzerland and give up the child for adoption. Eventually, Babe develops a drinking problem and drowns while swimming in the lake. Several years later, Anna is a divorced single mother in Boston, Massachusetts, working an unfulfilling part-time job to supplement her income as a piano teacher. Inspired by Babe’s passionate outlook on life, Anna hopes to give her six-year-old daughter, Molly, a less repressed upbringing, and uses books to teach her about sex. Her grandfather, Frank McCord, criticizes her choice to send Molly to daycare, and offers to pay for a full-time nanny. Anna staunchly refuses, stating that she values her independence. One weekend at the Laundromat, she meets an Irish-born, Yale University-educated sculptor named Leo Cutter. Although she initially rebuffs his advances, the two begin a passionate affair, marking Anna’s first truly intoxicating sexual relationship. As she gradually learns to let go of her inhibitions, Leo spends more time at the apartment and earns Molly’s trust. One day, Anna’s former husband, Brian, shows up at the door and announces that he intends to file for sole custody of their daughter. Anna is dumbfounded, but Brian implies that Leo has done something inappropriate. During a meeting with Anna’s lawyer, Mr. Muth, Leo reveals that Molly once interrupted him in the shower and asked to touch his genitals. Although slightly embarrassed, he hoped to support Anna’s open attitude toward Molly’s sexual education, and gave the girl permission. The incident passed without consequence until Molly mentioned it to Brian. While Mr. Muth believes Leo’s version of events, he worries that a conservative judge will not understand Anna’s relaxed parenting tactics and insists that the best way to regain custody rights is to blame Leo. Although hurt, Leo agrees to do whatever is necessary to help win the case. To pay for her legal fees, Anna asks to borrow money from her grandfather, Frank, who begins to pry into the personal details of her affair. Disgusted by her husband’s judgmental behavior, Anna’s grandmother, Eleanor, convinces him to write a check. As the hearing begins, Mr. Muth defends Molly’s educational interest in anatomy, while the prosecution paints Leo and Anna’s sexual relationship as inappropriate. When Leo takes the witness stand, Mr. Muth opts not to conduct a cross-examination, denying him the opportunity to tell the truth. The following day, Anna offers to terminate her relationship with Leo if it would ensure her right to be with Molly. Regardless, the judge rules in Brian’s favor, granting Anna only partial visitation rights. Falling into a state of depression, Anna ignores Leo’s phone calls and refuses to see him. Over time, Molly struggles to adjust to her new life with Brian, and Mr. Muth suggests they make arrangements to appeal the ruling. Anna declines, claiming she would rather help Molly be happy with the situation than to take advantage of her misery. She and Leo remain in touch, but decide they should no longer date. As Anna reflects on the events that have transpired, she remembers the words of her grandmother, assuring her that she still is a good mother. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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