The Magnificent Meyersons, written and directed by Evan Oppenheimer, is about a uniquely loving family living in New York City. Mother Terri (Kate Mulgrew) is an oncologist, and father Morty (Richard Kind) ghosts the family late in life. One of their sons, Ronald (Ian Kahn), is a businessman, while Daniel (Daniel Eric Gold) is studying to become a rabbi. The Meyerson daughters, Daphne (Jackie Burns) and Susie (Shoshannah Stern), are a publisher and real estate agent, respectively.
Each member possesses a seemingly mundane but special talent. One has the ability to, regardless of the situation, know what to say, and another has the innate ability to comfort everyone around her. However, like any family, they have their ups and downs and don’t always see eye to eye. When a magnificent discovery is brought to the attention of everyone in the Big Apple, the Meyersons begin looking at the world differently, and that is a good thing.
Most of the characters throughout The Magnificent Meyersons find ways to antagonize viewers at one point or another. As frustrating as they may be at times, this hostile reality adds to the believability and relatability of these fictional people. However, they sometimes become a bit too much to handle, except for one character, Alan (Greg Keller). From the minute he arrives on screen, Alan presents himself with great vigor, and he manages to be the balance that the rest of the characters need. Keller is as profound in his approach toward developing the character as Alan is in the grand scheme of the film (and life). Considering all that the family is up against, his impeccable ability to always find the right words allowed me to instantly fall in love with him.
“When a magnificent discovery is brought to [their] attention…the Meyersons begin looking at the world differently…”
The existentialism throughout is eye-opening and heart-warming. All the things that we think but often fail to express verbally come out in Oppenheimer’s beautiful screenplay. The fashion in which the filmmaker attacks each of these topics is groundbreaking. I genuinely appreciate the honesty that Oppenheimer brings to the table.
Still, around the halfway mark of The Magnificent Meyersons, something significant happens that snowballs into an event touching all the family members. This breathes life into many of the existential topics being toyed with. However, that important piece of the narrative, while valuable in the grand scheme of things, is far too silly to fit into the dramatic nature of the film, and it takes much away from the overall story. I desperately wanted this “aha” moment to be different. I needed it to be more emotionally drawing, culturally relevant, and altogether believable. Due to the fact that it wasn’t any of these things, I felt it failed terribly.
Toward the conclusion, Terri utters the phrase, “Everything matters, all of it.” Even the slightly less interesting moments or the massive, frustrating twist halfway through are relevant to the narrative and play a pivotal role in each of the characters’ journeys. The time and effort Oppenheimer needed to develop the script must have been incredible, and the production overall flourishes as a result.
I love these characters, yes, even the annoying ones, as they mirror the reality of the world in which we live. The Magnificent Meyersons is developed very deliberately through this off-kilter family, and everything pans out incredibly. I’m impressed with the clear effort put forth by Oppenheimer to make the most of what he can control. Except for the one hiccup in the middle, I genuinely appreciate every aspect of this film.
"…I genuinely appreciate every aspect of this film."