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368 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Ed Harris star in a touching story of unlikely friendship between two remarkable women. A hilarious, poignant, heartfelt drama. “One of the best films of the year! Wonderful, funny, emotional and uplifting.” – Sara Edwards, NBC-TV

Though Stepmom was dismissed as a contender in the 1998 Oscar race, it's worth giving a second chance to this rather cogent, sharp-tongued look at second chances. Susan Sarandon's performance as a mom about to be replaced by her ex-husband's new girlfriend (played by Julia Roberts) has a lot of bite, and it's a shame the script opted to marginalize and trivialize her plight in its final reel. Initially, the rancor that passes between divorced mom Jackie (Sarandon) and trendy fashion photographer Isabel (Roberts) rings true, aided by the sincerity of Jackie's ex-husband Luke (Ed Harris) and the emotional plight of their children, who have the most to lose in their parents' divorce. As the drama makes clear, the kids are the real victims in the agony that ensues between old and new love.

Director Chris Columbus, who is adept at showing familial chaos (he directed Mrs. Doubtfire and Home Alone) with a sanitized minimum of lingering emotional damage, actually manages to dig a trifle deeper than usual in exploring the jealousy and hurt that occur when the baton is passed between a birth mom and the younger wife who steps into her shoes. Stepmom fortunately manages to touch on that chord--showing how an ambitious woman might feel hampered by the responsibility of children just because she's fallen in love with their dad--as well as the haunting grief that it causes their birth mom. It's an issue that haunts millions of second wives everywhere, and while Roberts conveys the confusion of being taken for granted in the melee that follows, it's Sarandon who walks off with the film. She's relentless in her fury, and everyone else in the film--the generally excellent Harris included--is sideswiped. It's just a shame that Hollywood once again wimps out in the end, solving the problem by giving Sarandon a terminal illness. Instead of allowing Jackie and Isabel's relationship to unfold on something less than a high note, the movie has to quell its best thing with a false payoff because it doesn't know what to do with real life. --Paula Nechak

Special Features

  • Making-Of Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Ed Harris, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Liam Aiken, Jena Malone
  • Directors: Chris Columbus
  • Producers: Chris Columbus
  • Format: Full Screen, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 1999
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767821769
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,701 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stepmom" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Grace on May 27, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I always have and always will consider this a very meaningful and worthwhile movie. Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon were outstanding choices for the lead roles because they truly knew how to fit the types of characters they were playing. Susan Sarandon is Jackie Harrison, a highly devoted mother who is an outstanding example of a woman who loves and places her children above herself. Her ex-husband Luke (Ed Harris) finds a new love, Isabel (Julia Roberts). The whole situation is difficult for Jackie and both of her young children, especially her 12-year-old daughter Anna, who resents Isabel. When Susan is diagnosed with fatal cancer, it becomes absolutely necessary for the two kids to learn to accept Isabel. Many, many hardships and challenges rise between Susan and Isabel before they are finally able to put aside their differences, become friends, and figure out how to handle the future of their family--a future that they can no longer deny. I especially liked this movie because it deals with such serious and complex issues that many of us can at least appreciate if we have not experienced it ourselves. You really feel the tone of the issue through Anna, Susan's oldest child. She is such a horrible brat, you want to kick her, but then you soften when you realize that she is just scared and upset because she loves both of her parents, and it is hard for her to get through all of the changes. Any of us can understand or even relate to that. Although I enjoyed most aspects of this movie, I really loved the way Susan taught her children not to be afraid of her death, especially her very young son. There's no greater way to show your love for your child than by putting on a brave face during the scariest moment of your life in order to spare them the fear that you feel yourself. It truly is touching the way Susan loves her kids so selflessly in this movie. It's very deep, very moving, and worth the money to buy. I hope this review was helpful.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Fran on February 18, 2000
Format: DVD
I have waited forever for a fabulous movie such as this where the stepmom is a caring parent who will go through just about anything to make things workout, yet still be witty and stick up for herself. Julia Roberts was at her best. Susan Sarandon was perfect. Whenever you hear the word "stepmom" most think "wicked" should be attached. I am a stepmom and know how painful it can get. We're not all bad step mothers, some of us are stepmoms. This movie was very accurate and showed both sides of the fence. One reviewer said children are not aloud to act this way in real life, HA. This was a very mild case of what true step families go through. These childrens lives are being torn apart and they will stop at nothing to stop their pain. But as the movie shows, it's not because they are bad, and the stepmom isn't bad for falling in love with their dad, and once you see through the pain there really can be peace in the end with true love and understanding. We CAN have a great relationship with one another . Wonderful show, well worth owning. It truly showed the struggle real families go through in a fun, humorous and touching way. I took my stepson to see it. It was our first date. We loved it. He laughed and cried through the whole show.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Simply put--I loved this movie. I laughed, I cried, I delved into my own relationship with my stepmother. No, this is not an action adventure shoot 'em up escape movie. (I like those too.) It is a glimpse into the dirty world of divorce, children, and illnesses that sometimes bring everyone together.
Julia Roberts as the trying-hard-to-win-over-the-kids younger fiancee. Susan Sarandon as the gritty you-will-not-take-over-my- life ex-wife. Both gifted actresses play well of each other.
Humor, pathos, deep sadness & victory make for a great tears streaming down your face emotional ride. Don't miss this one.
Thank you for your interest & comments--CDS
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan on August 10, 2001
Format: DVD
My mother and I watched this together on a Saturday night. We ended up sobbing by the end of this movie. It was very realistic. This movie potrays the family as they handle Jackie being diagnosed with cancer and the workings of a new family so well. You could relate to the part of Isabel as the girlfriend and new stepmom with two kids who dislike you immensely, no matter how hard you tried, and always compared you to their mother. And she also showed how difficult it is for the new wife to have two step-kids who will always hold their mother on the highest pedstal of love and perfection. Susan Sarandon gave a beautiful and emotional performance. She played Jackie, the mother. My mother and I could relate to how she felt about having her part as Mother and Sole Protector of her children usurped by this younger, beautiful, working girl. The young actors playing Ben and Anna gave a perfect performance as well. The actor playing Ben portrayed his part as young, happy-go-lucky kid, who will always love his mother, so well. The part where he said to his mother, "Mom, if you want me to hate her, I will." was so heart-wrenching. It showed his love for his mother. Anna played the part of the pre-teen who was going to go through her life withouth her mother so well. The conversations near the end with Ben and Anna with Jackie brought on sobs. Ed Harris also gave a good performance as the husband who tried to make the marriage work, but couldn't and now realizes, his first wife is dying. This movie deserves an oscar, five stars, and a box of tissues. I suggest you watch it with someone you really care about, a parent, aunt, grandparent, etc. We tried watching it with Dad, but he didn't get it.Read more ›
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