Molly (1999 film)

Molly is a 1999 romantic comedy-drama film about a 28-year-old woman with autism who comes into the custody of her neurotic executive brother. The film was directed by John Duigan and written by Dick Christie of Small Wonder-fame, and stars Elisabeth Shue as the titular character, Aaron Eckhart as her older brother, and Jill Hennessy.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Duigan
Produced byWilliam J. MacDonald
Written byDick Christie
Music byTrevor Jones
CinematographyGabriel Beristain
Edited byHumphrey Dixon
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 22, 1999 (1999-10-22) (U.S.)
Running time
87 min (102 min)
CountryUnited States
Budget$21 million
Box office$17,650 (USA)


A 28-year-old autistic woman named Molly McKay (Elisabeth Shue) has lived in an institution from a young age following her parents' death in a car accident. When the institution must close due to budget cuts, Molly is left in the care of her non-autistic older brother, Buck McKay (Aaron Eckhart), an advertising executive and perennial bachelor. Molly, who verbalizes very little and is obsessed with lining up her shoes in neat rows, throws Buck's life into a tailspin as she runs off her nurses and barges into a meeting at Buck's agency naked.

Molly's neurologist, Susan Brookes (Jill Hennessy), suggests an experimental surgery in which genetically modified brain cells are implanted into Molly's brain. While Buck initially balks at the suggestion, he finally consents to the surgery and Molly makes a gradual but miraculous "recovery", speaking fluidly and interacting with others in a normal way. Buck begins taking Molly to social events, like a production of Romeo and Juliet, a baseball game, and expensive dinners. However, after a few months, Molly's brain begins to reject the transplanted cells and she begins to regress into her former state. Both Molly and Buck must accept the eventual loss of Molly's "cure" and her regression to her previous state.

In the final scene of the film, Buck accepts Molly's autism and vows to remain in Molly's life by creating a room for her at his home that looks just like the room she had at the institution.



The film earned US$17,650 during its theatrical run, on a budget of $21 million, making it a box office bomb. Believing the film was unlikely to be a success, the distributors Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer chose to cut their losses and eliminate the film's marketing budget. It was only released on a single weekend in twelve cinemas, in order to meet legal obligations.[1]

Critical reception

Molly received mostly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 14% "Rotten" approval from film critics, with a rating average of 3.4 out of 10. The consensus says, "Molly never really elevates above uninspired, cliche-ridden moments."[2] At Metacritic, Molly received a weighted mean rating of 21 out of 100 from film critics, consistently indicating "generally unfavorable reviews", classified as a generally unfavorably reviewed film.[3]

See also


  1. "Molly (1999)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  2. "Molly". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  3. "Molly". Metacritic. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
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