DirectorPat OConnor Initial DVD releaseMarch 13, 2001 Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateApril 4, 1997 (1997-04-04) Based on"Inventing the Abbotts"
by Sue Miller WriterSue Miller (story), Ken Hixon (screenplay) CastJoaquin Phoenix (Doug Holt), Liv Tyler (Pamela Abbott), Jennifer Connelly (Eleanor Abbott), Billy Crudup (Jacey Holt), Joanna Going (Alice Abbott), Kathy Baker (Helen Holt) Similar moviesBrooklyn, Just a Question of Love, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, The Dreamers, Bruce Almighty
TaglineWhen you want it all but can't have it, there's only one way to handle life... invent it.
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Inventing the Abbotts is a 1997 American coming-of-age film directed by Pat O'Connor and starring Liv Tyler, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly, and Joanna Going. The screenplay by Ken Hixon is based on a short story by Sue Miller. The original music score was composed by Michael Kamen.
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The lives of two closely linked families dangerously intersect in a small Illinois town in the 1950s. Two brothers, Jacey and Doug Holt are being raised by a single, working mother in Haley, Illinois. Their father was a reckless risk-taker and lost his life in a bet with Lloyd Abbott (Will Patton), his business partner. Abbott eventually becomes one of the town's foremost, wealthiest and most-admired citizens. The lives of the Holts and the Abbotts are intertwined through various entanglements. Lloyd Abbott and his distant wife, Joan, are the parents of three beautiful daughters, Alice, Eleanor and Pamela.
Because of a misunderstanding of the circumstances surrounding his father's death (a supposed bet with Abbott that took the elder Holt's life), Jacey (Billy Crudup) seeks revenge on the Abbotts through the calculated seduction of the Abbott daughters. At first, Jacey cannot wait to escape the suffocating life in Haley, later in the film, however, he is pulled back as he idolizes the Abbott family, as well as obsesses about the oldest daughter, Alice (Joanna Going), thus seeking to jockey his way into the Abbott family.
At first, Doug (Joaquin Phoenix), the younger brother, admires and worships his brother's libertine lifestyle. However, as he matures, he discovers that all that glitters is not gold. He eventually falls in love with the youngest, virginal Abbott, Pamela (Liv Tyler), who protests his early, fumbling sexual advances. She forces him to appreciate her for who she is, not what she may offer up to him. Meanwhile, Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly) is sent away to a mental hospital after she and Jacey are caught by Lloyd Abbott, who cannot keep them apart.
After two years of being apart from each other, Doug and Pamela meet again by chance while they are in college in Philadelphia. However, Doug and Jacey are brought back to Haley after their mother's death. They also find a letter from their late father that says he has sold their patent for a 1937 DeSoto Coupe convertible. Despite the obstacles that Lloyd Abbott places in the way of any of the Holt brothers ever seeing his daughters again, Doug convinces Abbott at the end of the story of his true love for Pamela and receives his blessing on a future relationship.
Liv Tyler as Pamela Abbott
Joaquin Phoenix as Doug Holt
Billy Crudup as Jacey Holt
Jennifer Connelly as Eleanor Abbott
Will Patton as Lloyd Abbott
Kathy Baker as Helen Holt
Joanna Going as Alice Abbott
Barbara Williams as Joan Abbott
Alessandro Nivola as Peter Vanlaningham
Michael Keaton as Narrator/Older Doug
Inventing the Abbotts was poorly received by critics. The film holds a 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.
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