I haven’t seen this in 20 plus years, and boy have I been missing out. This movie was a delight. I thoroughly enjoyed the production design, the pacing, and especially the performances. This is a funny, and fun halloween movie.
lI am of course discussing the live action film from 1991 not the animated film from 2019 or any other the other terations that have hit screens over the years. This is the film starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci.
The Addams Family is of course the spooky, kooky family that began in comic stripes, then moved to television in the 1960’s. They are a family of dark and bizarre charms. This film follows the family as they try to find their long lost Uncle Fester, played by Christopher Lloyd. Gomez Addams, played by the wonderful Raul Julia, is beside himself after years of searching in vain for his long lost brother. Morticia Addams, played by the ethereal Anjelica Huston, is by his side, but suspicious of the man they have found who claims to be Fester. It turns out she has a right to be suspicious. This Fester is actually Gordon, the son of a conniving con artist Abigail, played by Elizabeth Wilson. They are using Gordon to infiltrate The Addams Family and steal their wealth.
My favorite aspect of the film are these wonderful actors giving pitch perfect performances. Raul Julia brings this wild untamable energy to every moment on screen. He is so much fun. He has such flourish and gusto, that I just wanted to spend more time with him. Anjelica Huston is subdued and otherworldly as Morticia. She has this soft devilish way about her that infinitely charming. Christopher Lloyd is truly bizarre as Fester/Gordon. He has this choked way of speaking and this weird hunched posture that is hilarious and delightful. Christina Ricci is the other stand out here as the deadpan Wednesday Addams. She is a lot of fun bringing a darkness to her line delivery. I just love watching these performers.
They shouldn’t work. Raul Julia is giving it his all at such a fever pitch that it should feel way over the top and ridiculous especially next to the subdued and transcendent Anjelica Huston. These two share a lot of scenes together, and they are playing at opposite ends of the spectrum. It should feel lopsided and goofy, but it works! They are so good together and bring the energy in different ways. It’s a lot of fun to see them perform together.
The look of the film is something beautiful to behold. They set design is this gothic style that flirts with Tim Burton but still manages to find its own look and its own aesthetic. Every frame is full of weird details that create a wonderful sense of place and atmosphere.
The story works really well because of how simple it is. It’s a classic con artist story. It has been done a lot, and it works here. It especially works here because it isn’t the only plot line going on. Everyone has their little subplots that intersect and work together. Gomez has his struggles. Morticia has her plot. Wednesday has her school play to prepare for. This isn’t Fester’s story or Gomez’s story. It’s a true ensemble. I loved that.
This is completely my cup of tea. I loved it. I loved it so much, that I watched the sequel as soon as this one was over. A