The Addams Family

  • Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Directing Debut)
  • November 22, 1991
  • Based on the characters from the cartoon created by cartoonist Charles Addams and the 1964 TV series produced by David Levy

The Addams Family reconnects with what they believe to be their long-lost relative-Gomez’s brother Fester Addams.

Truth be told though I have prior experience with The Addams Family television series, this movie is what I think of when I think of The Addams Family. And I dare say this is what many people think of. This is a weird mixture of macabre and family friendly. As dark as the humor is this is something you can sit down and watch with your kids. And the handful of adult jokes will certainly go over the heads of any children present. Though going on 30 years the humor is still very funny and hits rather well. 

There are swipes at social conventions and just general social commentary mixed in with the regular jokes and the charmingly ridiculous plot of the long-lost brother seemingly returning from the dead. And though that is a cheesy plot you would find in a television show, somehow through the magic of Barry Sonnenfeld it becomes worthy of hitting the big screen. You could’ve certainly involved the cast of characters in something much more complex but given the dynamics here it would not have worked.

Not only did this film make a star out of Christina Ricci in her portrayal of Wednesday Addams but each actor so perfectly embodied the role and executed their parts that it is very difficult to picture anyone else play playing them after viewing this. Raul Julia IS Gomez Addams. Anjelica Huston IS Morticia. Christopher Lloyd IS Uncle Fester. 

Christopher Lloyd probably has the most significant character arc in his part as Uncle Fester. He starts out believing one thing and ends it believing another with a complete change in his life added. I remember when I first saw this I thought it was a pretty safe bet that he was going to be revealed to actually be Uncle Fester but they do give enough doubt as they lay the groundwork at that being the reality with little hint drops here and there. 

The core of the story of The Addams Family is built around family and how stuff to an outsider that is perfectly normal and harmless can appear quite weird and unusual and the love it is done in. In the finale Uncle Fester chooses the unconditional family love of The Addams Family over the very conditional love of the woman who’s been caring for him even though at that point he is not quite certain of the truth himself.

Raul Julia’s Gomez comes off as an aloof and fatherly playboy with an infectious and energetic charm. His positive attitude is what apparently maintains The Addams Family fortune and causes the continual irritation he unknowingly foists upon his neighbor Judge Womack (Paul Benedict). This also unintentionally sets up the assistance in causing the major problem that needs to be overcome.

Raul Julia was a very talented actor. He was like bacon in everything he did. He made it that much better. And his move from happy that his brother is back to suspicions about his identity to back again is done so smoothly as is the descent into deep depression that despite the wild swings you are not bothered.

Anjelica Huston is perfect as a dark and sexy Morticia who is the proud matriarch of The Addams Family and seeks to uphold its legacy. Gomez may be the father, but Morticia is the one who keeps things aligned with the fundamentals of the family and is the strongest of the duo. When Gomez falls apart, she keeps her head and tries to maintain things until a solution can be found.

Christina Ricci turned what amounted to a small part as the comic and essentially cute kid who helps change Uncle Fester’s heart when he believes he is Gordon into one heck of a career. While the actress that originated the live action role wasn’t bad, Ricci managed to craft a darkly humorous character more in line with the spirit of Charles Addams’ strip.

When you needed a slimeball character actor back in the day there were fewer better choices out there than Dan Hedaya who shows up as The Addams Family lawyer Tully Alford (truly awful?). Because he is a terrible lawyer he has no clients and is deeply indebted to loan shark Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson) whose longtime muscle is her son “Gordon” (Christopher Lloyd). Hedaya is one of my favorite character actors and just brings a likable scumbag nature to every part.

The film is directed a bit like a better than most television film. There are no really cool camera shots or dramatic pans of the camera. The camera itself is rather static yet that doesn’t harm the overall film. The cheesy humor and well executed script the plot built on from the opening gets you past all that. This is just silly fun filled with weird characters and great jokes.

The Addams Family is a great page to screen or television to screen adaption of the property. However you look at it it’s funny and fun and just a great watch. I cannot recommend this enough!

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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