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  • No matter what a man might have done to bring himself to an AIDS-ridden state, at the very least, he's entitled to two things: a fond farewell among his loved ones, and a proper burial. Few could have played out these sentiments more simply and rivetingly than in "Our Sons." Even in the bright San Diego sunlight, there is a pall of melancholy that hangs over everything in this movie--a ghost of yearning for tenderness and tolerance. It's an elegy that plunges through sharp differences of opinions, and, unlike most great homages, finishes with a sweet, somber sigh. I cannot remember when I've been moved so strongly by a TV movie.

    Julie Andrews stars as a businesswoman whose homosexual son, exhausted by the ordeal, reveals that his lover is dying AIDS. They have drifted apart, because although it had never been expressed, she is deeply disappointed with the situation, and harbors a faint hope that he might change. Under the mistaken notion that the best thing for his lover is to reunite him with his own mother, he asks her to travel to Arkansas to make a personal appeal. The problem is what separates this Mother and Son is not a tacit agreement to quietly disagree, but out-and-out rejection and gut-wrenching revulsion. The war breaks out between the two mothers as they wrestle with their strong feelings about their sons.

    Julie Andrews has never been known for playing mothers. Her clipped diction and stilted manner made her a more fitting nanny or governess, I think, than a living, breathing, nurturing bearer of children. It's these qualities that make her right to play Audrey Grant who has distanced herself from her son, because she doesn't want to admit that she hates what has happened. Andrews has never looked more radiant than she does here. It's as if the blood has finally started coursing through her veins. She looks recognizably human, and she has never seemed smarter than she does here.

    Ann-Margret doesn't seem any fitter to play a mother than Andrews, but she has always been known for her ferocity. Witness her going at John Forsythe in "Kitten With A Whip" or her eyes flash at a cockfight in "The Cincinnati Kid," and you'll know what I mean. But the abuses the women she played could heap upon the men in their lives, her Luanne Barnes can't quite get away with with another woman. She and Andrews go at it tooth-and-nail, and what comes of it are their most powerful performances ever.

    As Luanne's son Donnie, Zeljko Ivanek is the humiliation every parent fears, the skeleton most fathers and mothers want to stay in the closet, the jack-in-the-box they'd just as soon lost its spring. Donnie knows how his mother feels about him, and he wrestles with the prospect of a painful reunion as bravely as a dying man can. Writer William Hanley has blessed him with a love of movie dialogue and a take-things-as-they-come buoyancy. Ivanek knows what to do with a part this good. He flies with it, and he never comes down. With him playing Donnie, you can understand how he could attract someone who looks like Hugh Grant (who plays Audrey's son James as if he had a terminal case of lockjaw) and who could make a mother like Luanne Barnes see what a waste her rage and rejection was.

    John Erman, who also directed another good AIDS picture "An Early Frost," is an intelligent director; he knows when he has something good in front of him and when to get out of the way. The moral of the story may be a bit simplistic for some people's taste: that if we don't love our children, who will? But I think this movie stands alone on the subject of AIDS; it's the most powerful movie about it I've ever seen.
  • This is possibly the best made TV movie I've ever watched... Very powerful, moving and wonderfully acted. "Our Sons" is a great tearjerker and lesson in tolerance!

    Both Julie Andrews and Ann Margret bring a lot of heart and subtlety to this story, about two mothers from very different backgrounds brought together by a tragedy affecting their sons and their common difficulty facing it. Their characters offer different perspectives on a sensitive topic.

    The roles of James and particularly Donald are not as strong or subtly acted, but do not hurt the quality of this film or our enjoyment watching it.

    Let's hope this little known pearl will be coming to DVD soon, for all to discover and enjoy!
  • cLoNe16 August 1999
    It's not the best AIDS or gay drama around, but it's good. The cast is great and the script, while being imperfect, has very good moments.

    The four main characters are well developed and their conflict with each other are very interesting.

    A very nice TV movie, but still- a TV movie. Nothing more than that.
  • Gay male couple in Los Angeles deals with tragedy: one partner has full-blown AIDS, and his estranged mother from Arkansas is called for; soon, the boys' mothers meet for the first time and couldn't be more dissimilar. Big-hearted TV movie made at the time 108,731 Americans had perished from AIDS, so it's realistic in this setting that everyone here would be struggling with the notion of the disease and with homosexuality in general. Julie Andrews is the wealthy, society-type who lives in a sparkling abode; Ann-Margret plays the bewigged cowgirl who's had a wild life of ups and downs. Dramatically, it might have been more interesting if the two actresses had switched roles--they're a little bit typecast--but it's a comfortable, secure match, and both women are shown to good advantage. Not so Hugh Grant as Andrews' son, looking a bit distanced from the proceedings. A small-budgeted but emotional film, dignified and even-keeled, and though Ann-Margret's character is anti-gay and refers to her son as "one of them", the movie attempts to show personal growth and is ultimately compassionate.
  • When one hears that Julie Andrews and Ann-Margaret are going to be in the same film, one expects possibly a comedy or musical. What you have here are some riveting performances by two old pros in a story that still could resonate today. The in-bred bigotry espoused by Ann-Margaret I am sure, is still practiced by many in regions all over the world. Julie Andrews character is somewhat more enlightened as she has (grudgingly) accepted her son's homosexuality. Her initial facade of tolerance is tempered by a "disappointment" that her own son is gay. Her earnest wish for her son to be tested and his fear of being tested show honest and true emotions for the characters. Hugh Grant does well in his role of the lover about to lose his mate. I hadn't see this since it was first telecast in 1991, but I was surprised to see how well the writing, direction and especially the performances have held up over the years. See this by all means.
  • In OUR SONS, Oscar winner Julie Andrews made her TV movie debut as a wealthy socialite who is asked by her gay son (Hugh Grant) to travel to the town of Fayetteville to find the mother (Ann-Margret) of his lover (Zeljko Ivanek), who is dying of AIDS and wants to see his mother before he dies. This movie shows all four characters going through a myriad of emotions as not only does Andrews have to deal with the fact that her own son is gay and that his lover is dying, she is forced into bonding with this stranger, who not only knew nothing about her son being gay, but now that she knows, wants nothing to do with him and seems curiously unmoved by the fact that her son is dying. Also complicating matters is a clash of social classes as Andrews finds Ann-Margret's character to be uneducated white trash who resents this wealthy woman's intrusion into her life, which ignites some very powerful emotions between the two women. Equally moving are the scenes between the two lovers. This movie is well-directed and acted and brings up quite a few unpleasant questions regarding homosexuality and AIDS. An adult motion picture drama that tackles some unpleasant subject matter but is well worth watching for the adult and open minded movie viewer.
  • Our Sons is an ok tv movie but could've been better. I did get a good laugh out of Julie Andrews calling Ann Margret " A stupid bitch". Ann Margret and Julie Andrews are good but Hugh Grant is annoying as usual.
  • Our Sons is one of the better films dealing with AIDS that I've seen next to The Normal Heart. It casts Julie Andrews and Ann Margret as two radically different women who must come together when one of their sons is dying of AIDS.

    Hugh Grant has an early role as Andrews' son and he pleads with his mother to bring Margret's character from Arkansas to see his dying lover and her son. This doesn't go as planned and Andrews must convince Margret to see her son, because Margret is under the impression that her son deserves what's coming to him because of his lifestyle.

    Even 30 years later, this story is all too resonate with parents abandoning their gay children all the time. Our Sons tells an incredibly moving story about how it's never too late to reconnect and forgive. Andrews and Margret have never been better and you have to give them credit for willing to star in a non-judgemental story about AIDS when people were still scared to talk about it.
  • A great cast with great performances... Along with "An Early Frost", a sad-but accurate-time capsule of life in the aids generation.
  • a film about AIDS. touching for its provocative manner to present not the most comfortable themes, using a cast who, at the first sight, seems be ideal for different genre of film. but this is the detail who gives to a simple story force and significance and status of support for reflection. because it is impeccable in the translation of states of each character. in the conquest of the past. in definition of motherhood. in the delicate way to examine the roots of different forms of love. and this did it a must see.
  • I'm going to give the movie "2 thumbs up". The movie depicts a young man dying of AIDS and fears his mother knowing because she evicted him years prior because of him being gay. An all too familiar story in the gay community. However, the best part of the movie is watching both parents come to term with their sons sexuality. Audrey Grant (played by Julie Andrews) thought she didn't need any help in dealing with her son's sexuality until she met LouAnn Barnes (played convincingly by Ann-Margaret) and was forced to face her disappointment of not having grandchildren. The best lines however we delivered by Ann-Margaret and one can't help but laugh at her sarcasm and wit. In perspective, in spite of the subject matter, I found it to be a "feel good" movie and one that will be kept among my favorites.
  • Superb film about understanding. About empathy and forms of love, about social spaces and nooks of fear. Story of a special search and image of the other in your interior forum, place of gestures and words in an ambiguous universe of symbols and masks.

    A pledge for tolerance and small fights , about heavy price and the importance of values, about AIDS and the reactions not against illness or victim but against a subtle cowardly for who the ignorance, the personal life, the family are protective circles.

    Great value of film is the acting.

    Julie Andrews in a splendid role in which reveals the aspects of self sacrifice and force of a mother for who values, rules and dreams are more different after the confession of son.

    Ann- Margrette in the role of a victim of faith for who the life is cruel joke and, beyond education or hope, the presence of the other in personal space is terrible attack against.

    Hugh Grant as lover, son and ax of a universe in which self sacrifice is normal price to be yourself.

    Zeljko Ivanek in a touching role, with subtle shadows of interpretation of victims in many films.

    And the locations, words and details for constructing a drama not about love, hope, fight or social values, AIDS and death but for understanding of other like part of yourself understanding
  • Watching Julie Andrews call Ann-Margret a "Stupid B*@&h" was worth the price of this rental. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. And then i had to rewind it just to see it again. The plot has been done so many times, but it is definately worth it to see these two legends in the same film. Hell, i've definately seen a lot worse!
  • How does one spend a boring week night with nothing to do? Watch some corny "movie of the week" on Hallmark, that's how.

    Which is when I chanced upon this corny movie starring Julie Andrews, Ann Margaret and an emotionally stunted Hugh Grant. Granted(pun intended), he has since improved by leaps and bound in the acting faculties. But one should take a look at him then and literally cringe. His wooden posing may have single handedly tilted the emotional impact this movie attempted to achieve. That, in addition to the many clichés on the gay sub-culture and AIDS in general(forgivable traits though since this movie came out in 1990 and it was "made for TV":-)

    Which is a pity, as the adequate work put in by the rest of the cast is completely wasted on this project. Even that unknown gay chap lying in bed most of the time deserved another movie, and some decent makeup. He looked like the efficient mortician gave him some pre-departure touch-up.

    Of course, this flick isn't without its merits. I totally agree with one of the user's comments about a poignant scene when Ann Margaret asked Hugh Grant if she could take her son home, "after". (no spoilers here, go see it like I did and endure Hugh Grant's sleep walking first before you deserve the experience of that particular scene).

    That understated scene came out of the blue, yet it hit its nail right on the head. Its nice to see that kinship have the power to override anything, even homophobia. There is hope left in mankind after all. Wait a go, bitch!

    (In case you are wondering, I have never descended to name calling in my user comments. Ann Margaret was indeed called that once in the film by Julie Andrews. Another reason to go see this movie, don't you think?)

    Looking back, I realised the lesson learnt from this movie is not to exercise tolerance and to free our unfounded prejudices. Its that I seriously have to do something useful with my life instead of uncovering hidden moments of cinematic brilliance in corny tv movies starring "has-beens" who's still got it and a facially cramped Hugh Grant. (Ouch!)

    Yes, judging by my above ramblings, I am in a funk right now and hopefully, it won't last long. So sleep tight my fellow readers. If not, you can always channel surf for "Our Sons" like I did, and find it a wonderful treat for your hearts and minds. I may be wrong, you know?

    G'nite.
  • ONe moment in this film I have never seen in any attempt to deal with gay rejection or homophobia on the part of two mothers, Ann-Margaret and Julie Andrews, whose sons are lovers and Margaret's son is now dying of AIDS. Ann is finally brought around and goes to be reunited with her dying son. At one moment in the film, she is in the kitchen with Andrews and Hugh Grant, who is Andrews son, and she is chittering away happily about being reunited again with her kid. She states casually how she hopes to take him back to Arkansas with her when everything settles down. Grant shoots Andrews a look of startlement, then blurts out, "absolutely not! He is too ill to travel!"

    Surprised, Ann-Margaret says, "oh no, I didn't mean before, . . . . I meant, . . . . I meant after, . . . " meaning after he had died, she would take his body back to Arkansas. She then dismissed the idea, seeing it had upset someone. This has never been depicted before or since that one who could dislike a child who is dying of AIDS could take responsibility of them after they have departed. A real slap in the face to those who think homophobia should always be condemned.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Donald Barnes (Zeljko Ivanek) is a gay man dying of AIDS. He was thrown out of his house years before by his mom Luanne (Ann-Margret) when he told her he was gay. Donalds' lover James (Hugh Grant) asks HIS mom Audrey (Julie Andrews) to go to Luanne and tell her that her son is dying and this is her last chance to see him. This has Luanne having to deal with her homophobia...and Audrey realizing she has issues of her own.

    This was groundbreaking (for TV) when it came out in 1991. The HIV is not prettied up or toned down. It opens with Donald already in the hospital and his face and body is already ravaged. That aside though this WAS tame. The language is toned down--except when, in a rousing moment, Andrews calls Ann-Margret a "bitch". No gay slurs are used either even though a few moments in the script cry out for them. Also almost all the conflicts come to a neat tidy end that are mostly unbelievable--I never bought Luanne's total acceptance for one moment. Still it does have some well done sequences and Ann-Margret and Andrews are just great in their respective roles. Talented actor Ivanek is given nothing to do but slowly waste away. Grant manages (somehow) to completely cover his English accent and adopts a believable California one. He also nicely underplays his role. The movie also sidesteps from getting TOO melodramatic which could have easily happened. So, for a TV movie, it was very good but (almost 20 years later) it's very dated, the low budget shows and it is distressingly tame. Still, it was a wonder that this was even made and that Andrews and Ann-Margaret agreed to star in it. A 7.