The film talks about a family that weathers all sorts of disasters and keeps going in spite of it all. It is noted for its wonderful assortment of oddball characters.
Anything but the disaster some critics would have you believe, Tony Richardson's adaptation of John living's sprawling novel has enough moments of quality to atone for the decidedly ropey ones.
Richardson never solves the problems caused by sticking so closely to the book, and the disjointed structure and sudden shifts in tone are often disconcerting. But Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe give their best playing characters that are deeply flawed but worth rooting for throughout.
Bridges plays himself in the patriarchal role and there are scenes of real dramatic power and weight that certainly don't deserved to be dismissed as a missed opportunity by lovers of the novel. And of course there's always the compensation of seeing Nastassja Kinski in a bear suit.
A brave effort from Richardson with another outstanding performance from Foster.