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Family Plot

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PG
1976

Family Plot, directed by veteran filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock in 1976, is a witty and suspenseful thriller-comedy that captures the audience's attention from the start and holds it until the final credits roll. With an exceptional ensemble cast including Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, and William Devane, the film marked Hitchcock's final feature, brilliantly showcasing his prowess for suspense, droll humor, and eccentric characters. It is a complex narrative that intertwines multiple storylines into a captivating cinema experience.

Set in northern California, Family Plot centers on the life of madcap medium Blanche Tyler, portrayed by Barbara Harris with a deft blend of charm and comic timing. Blanche and her taxi-driver boyfriend, George Lumley (Bruce Dern), concoct a scheme to solve the mystery surrounding the long-lost heir of a wealthy and lonely woman. The older woman is desperate to find her nephew Edward Shoebridge, who disappeared after being blamed for the death of his parents. The couple hopes that resolving this case could get them out of financial troubles as the woman offers a hefty reward for any leads on her missing nephew.

On the other hand, the movie introduces a plot revolving around an elegant and sophisticated couple, Fran (Karen Black) and her lover, the sophisticated jeweler Arthur Adamson (William Devane), who are living a high-society life funded by their sinister hobby. This jewelry-loving duo moonlights as professional kidnappers, snatching up wealthy targets and demanding unique and rare artifacts in lieu of traditional ransom.

As the film unfolds, the storylines cleverly converge when we realize how these two couples, each with their own aspirations and complex nature, are connected. The audience gets to enjoy Hitchcock's signature Hitchcockian thrills as both duos inch closer to a collision course that threatens to unravel their most protected secrets.

Family Plot noticeably varies in tone from Hitchcock's earlier works but illustrates his masterful ability to mix his iconic suspenseful storytelling with tongue-in-cheek comedy. Every character has a quirk or characteristic that distinguishes them, and this serves to engage the viewer throughout the astonishing series of events that follow.

Harris and Dern share a rollicking chemistry, delivering both laugh-out-loud moments and touching instances of gentle affection. Harris’s flamboyant portrayal of Blanche Tyler lends an air of vivaciousness to the film, while Dern instills a sense of the earnest everyman in the character of George Lumley. On the other hand, Devane encapsulates the essence of a suave, cunning, and cold villain, and Karen Black as Fran, provides the perfect balance with her enigmatic and compelling performance.

The cinematography of Family Plot is captivating, with Hitchcock using the camera to build suspense and showcase the beauty and contrast of the film’s California setting. The music, composed by the acclaimed John Williams, adds another layer to the story, the dramatic and playful notes highlighting both the lighthearted and suspenseful tones of the film.

Unfolding in classic Hitchcock fashion, Family Plot keeps the audience guessing with its intertwining stories filled with suspense, mystery, and humor. It's a testament to Hitchcock's skill as a filmmaker, displaying his ability to create suspenseful situations filled with unexpected twists, while maintaining his distinct sense of humor. The film shines in its capacity to present an engaging narrative that leaves its audience entertained, amused, and on the edge of their seats. From the plot developments to the apt casting choices, the director's final curtain does not disappoint.

Finally, Family Plot is a film that showcases Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful storytelling ability, blending elements of suspense, comedy, and romance into a compelling narrative that firmly holds the audience’s attention. It's a must-watch for fans of Hitchcockian cinema and a delightful introduction to his work for new viewers.

Family Plot is a Comedy, Crime, Thriller movie released in 1976. It has a runtime of 121 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.8. It also holds a MetaScore of 79.

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Where can I stream Family Plot movie online? Family Plot is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Family Plot for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.8/10
79/100
Director
Alfred Hitchcock
Stars
Barbara Harris, Bruce Dern, William Devane, Karen Black, Cathleen Nesbitt, Ed Lauter, Katherine Helmond, Nicholas Colasanto
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