‘Stepmom’ is a family drama film that tries to bring to light the delicate balance of a family undergoing separation. The story follows the life of a woman named Jackie, who is terminally ill, as she struggles to make way for a young, ambitious woman her ex-husband has chosen as a replacement in the life of her kids. Taking charge in the director’s seat is Chris Columbus, who addresses the big issue of step-family conflict in the world through the emotionally powered film. The film is powered by a stellar cast featuring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Ed Harris in pivotal roles.
The title of the 1998 film is a self-suggestive one that prepares us for a tussle between the fiancee (Roberts) and the ex-wife (Sarandon). Naturally, the children resent their father’s newfound love and keep going back to their mother for care and attention. What ensues is a war of words, followed by a shocking revelation of the mother’s cancer diagnosis. Now, if you’re wondering whether the narrative is tethered in reality, we are here to help you out. Here’s everything you need to know!
Is Stepmom Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Stepmom’ is not based on a true story. The film deals with how changes in the dynamics of a family can affect its overall ambiance. While the story may not be based on true events, it does resonate with the average family going through struggles as new relationships are formed. The significant point to note is that Roberts and Sarandon’s emotionally-charged performances add a fresh and positive angle to an existing familiar story.
In an interview, Sarandon mentioned that the film does not take sides. Instead, it caters to each relationship that matters in a family — be it that of sibling, father, mother, or even step-relationship. She also talked about the theme of letting go and getting over it so that you can move on in life. That is exactly how the film journeys — initially, the mother resists and even aggravates the girlfriend, but later on, she learns how to let go of her resentment.
On the other hand, Roberts mentioned in an interview that the title of the film is not welcoming or heartwarming. However, unlike other films, she feels that ‘Stepmom’ does not clearly portray the “good” or the “bad.” It rather focuses on the mistakes that everyone makes, and that bad feelings or hatred towards anyone are anything but productive.
The stepmother’s perspective of not matching up to the level of the biological mother is something many of us can relate to. Jackie’s fear and protective nature, as well as the children’s hatred towards the new family member, also finds semblance with real-life families. Therefore, although ‘Stepmom’ may not be based on real-life, it finds acceptance and appreciation for its take on conflicting relationships. The resolution at the end of the film gives us hope and strength to overcome our weaknesses and look at the larger picture for our family’s peace and prosperity.
Read More: Where Was Stepmom Filmed?