Marvin’s Room

Character: Hank
Directed by: Jerry Zaks
Written by: Scott McPherson (play), Scott McPherson (screenplay)
Produced by: Tod Scott Brody, Robert DeNiro
Other cast: Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton , Robert De Niro
Release date: February 28, 1997
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 38min

Estranged since their father's first stroke some 17 years earlier, Lee and Bessie lead separate lives in separate states. Lee's son, Hank, finds himself committed to a mental institution after setting fire to his mother's house. His younger brother, Charlie, seems unphased by his brother's eccentricities or his mother's seeming disinterest. When Lee comes to the asylum to spring Hank for a week in Florida so that he can be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Bessie, Hank is incredulous. "I didn't even know you had a sister," he says. "Remember, every Christmas, when I used to say 'Well, looks like Aunt Bessie didn't send us a card again this year?'" "Oh yeah," Hank says. Meanwhile, Marvin, the two women's bedridden father, has "been dying for the past twenty years." "He's doing it real slow so I don't miss anything," Bessie tells Dr. Wally. In Bessie's regular doctor's absence, it has fallen to Dr. Wally to inform Bessie that she has leukemia and will die without a bone marrow transplant. This precipitates the two sisters uneasy reunion. In Marvin's room, Bessie cares for her father's every need. In Lee's eyes, the sacrifice Bessie has made is too great and realizing the old man's welfare will fall to her if Bessie dies, Lee's first instinct is to look for a nursing home. "In a few month's, I'll have my cosmotology degree," she says. "My life is just coming together; I'm not going to give it all up, now!" As first Lee is tested and then the boys for the compatibility of their marrow with Bessie's, the women take stock of their lives and rediscover the meaning of "family."


Academy Awards, USA (Oscar) 1997
Best Actress: Diane Keaton (Nominated)

Camerimage (Golden Frog) 1997
Piotr Sobocinski (Nominated)

Christopher Awards, USA 1997
Motion Pictures:
Jerry Zaks (director)
Scott McPherson (I) (writer)
Scott Rudin (producer)
Jane Rosenthal (producer)
Robert De Niro (producer)
Tod Scott Brody (executive prodcuer)
Lori Steinberg (executive prodcuer)

Golden Globes, USA (Golden Globe) 1997
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama: Meryl Streep (Nominated)

Molodist International Film Festival (Best Film Award) 1997
Best Full-Length Fiction Film:Jerry Zaks (Nominated)

Moscow International Film Festival (Golden St. George) 1997
Jerry Zaks (Won)

Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Award) 1997
Outstanding Performance by a Cast:
Meryl Streep
Leonardo DiCaprio
Diane Keaton
Robert De Niro
Hume Cronyn
Gwen Verdon
Hal Scardino
Dan Hedaya
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:
Diane Keaton
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Gwen Verdon