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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 118 mins . M15+ . PAL


Ron Howard is a fantastic director. The more I watch his movies, the more I can see how creative he is and how he flawlessly executes the entire movie, not just individual scenes.

Parenthood is one of his best movies of the past decade and it's no wonder given the quality of his ensemble cast. Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) and his wife Karen (Mary Steenburgen) are parents to a family of three. Nothing is perfect here as there eldest child is going through a tough time fitting in and their youngest child headbutts walls for fun.

Nathan Merrick (Rick Moranis) and wife Susan (Harley Jane Kozak) are the perfect child seeking parents as Nathan tries to force as much learning into his daughter as possible. It's only time before Susan will crack.

Helen (Dianne Wiest) is a single mother raising two kids, Julie (Martha Plimpton) and Garry (Joaquin Pheonix). Julie is rebelling against her mother with her boyfriend Tod (Keanu Reeves) whilst Garry is finding it hard to grow up without a male role model or father figure.

Finally we have Grandpa Larry (Tom Hulce), Gils father, who's other son Frank (Jason Robards) turns up on his door-step with a son, a gambling problem and his life in danger if he doesn't pay off some bookies.

The story portrays the highs and lows of parenthood from all generations and relates candidly to every man, woman and child who'd watch the movie.


The movie doesn't crave a widescreen transfer and such is presented in a pan and scan presentation. Not to say this is how it should have been as I would prefer the original aspect ratio.

The transfer is not the greatest but it is acceptable. The is some noticeable mpeg encoding shimmer at times as patches of grass or wall or sky seem to shift slightly in static scenes. Even with a decent 7 on the bit-rate meter, the full screen image requires a little more bandwidth for the data and the ordinary source print would require a little more attention to detail in the compression stage.

Black level is fine and shadow detail is pretty good especially in the scene where the families sit down to dinner and the lights go out, right before the electric ear cleaner. There is a decent amount of detail given the use of 500+ lines but sharpness is not as good as some decent transfers out there.


Eight soundtracks are present on this disc ranging from stereo surround tracks to mono soundtracks. The english track is presented in 2 channel surround and is of standard fare.

Dialogue is always clear and fidelity is pretty good for a 10 year old movie. The use of surround activity is minimal and only comes into full force during the simulated rollercoaster scene towards the end. Other than that, it's non-existent.

The musical score is typical Randy Newman. You could be excused for thinking you were watching TOy Story during the opening credits. Close your eyes and picture Woody and Buzz. I wish he'd become a little more creative.


Hmm, production notes and cast/crew biographies. Not much but better than nothing.


This is a great movie. I can't highly recommend it enough for all of you thinking about starting a relationship or a family of your own.

The cast does a wonderful job with each main actor doing their individual character justice, the direction is excellent and the plot, although not targeted to a final conclusion, brings the notion of parenthood full circle from young teenagers to foster parenting grandparents.

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