The Twilight Of The Golds

on October 05, 1998 by Bridget Byrne
   Based on a play and initially aired on cable TV's, "The Twilight of the Golds" strives for more controversy and concerns than it achieves. The trick-question premise, which explores the concept of a family's confrontation with the possibility that the next addition to their genetic circle is likely to be born gay, remains throughout a conceit around which the actors act up. Every now and then, the surface is pierced, but in the main the impact resonates only on the scale of interesting dilemma, never delivering the weight that a confrontation with the troubling issues of genetic testing should carry.
   The cast tries hard to bring complexity to stock characters, but ultimately without the writing to sustain their choices those who choose bold strokes fare best for themselves, if not for the film as a whole. As the potential grandparents, Faye Dunaway and Garry Marshall (who is also the executive producer) are nothing if not lively and attention grabbing. Both the actors and the characters they portray eat the air so thoroughly it is little wonder that Jennifer Beals ("Devil in a Blue Dress"), as their pregnant daughter, and Brendan Fraser ("George of the Jungle"), as their gay son, don't really have room to be fully formed. Instead, Beals and Fraser look good and seem nice, which somehow makes all the fuss seem rather unlikely.
   Jon Tenney ("Fools Rush In"), as the geneticist husband who doesn't like what his experiments reveal, has a completely unconvincing role that only comes alive in a brief scene of conflict over Jewish traditions with his estranged father (a cameo appearance by Jack Klugman) that screams of feelings and beliefs never attained throughout the rest of the story. Rosie O'Donnell ("Wide Awake") has a walk-on role as "best friend" that remains nothing more than that. Curiously for a film about such important issues, obviously undertaken with true feeling, the film is both soft centered and soft surfaced, not the bubbling cauldron it should have been.    Starring Jennifer Beals, Brendan Fraser, Faye Dunaway and Garry Marshall. Directed by Ross Marks. Written by Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass. Produced by Paul Colichman, John Davimos and Mark Harris. A CFP release. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief language. Running time: 93 min.
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