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 by||John Duigan|
|Produced by||William J. MacDonald|
|Written by||Dick Christie|
|Music by||Trevor Jones|
|Edited by||Humphrey Dixon|
|87 min (102 min)|
|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.
- Elisabeth Shue as Molly McKay
- Lauren Richter as 7 Year Old Molly
- Aaron Eckhart as Buck McKay
- Tanner Lee Prairie as 8 Year Old Buck
- Jill Hennessy as Susan Brookes
- Thomas Jane as Sam
- D. W. Moffett as Mark Cottrell
- Elizabeth Mitchell as Beverly Trehare
- Robert Harper as Dr. Simmons
- Elaine Hendrix as Jennifer Thomas
- Michael Paul Chan as Domingo
- Lucy Liu as Brenda
- Jon Pennell as Gary McKay
- Sarah Wynter as Julie McKay
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.
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." 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.