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Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
Year, country:
Pat O'Connor
Liv Tyler Jennifer Connelly Joaquin Phoenix
1h 50m

"Inventing the Abbotts" is a 1997 coming-of-age romantic drama film directed by Pat O'Connor. Set in the 1950s, the movie explores themes of love, family, and social class. Here's a brief description:

Plot:The film is set in the small town of Haley, Illinois, during the 1950s. It revolves around the lives of two working-class brothers, Jacey (played by Billy Crudup) and Doug Holt (played by Joaquin Phoenix), and their relationships with the wealthy Abbott sisters.

The Abbott sisters, Eleanor (played by Jennifer Connelly) and Pamela (played by Liv Tyler), belong to a privileged family, while the Holt brothers come from a less affluent background. The story unfolds as Jacey and Doug become romantically involved with the Abbott sisters, navigating the complexities of love, social expectations, and family secrets.

As the relationships between the two families become intertwined, long-buried secrets come to light, challenging the bonds between siblings and testing the strength of love in the face of societal expectations.


  • Class Divide: "Inventing the Abbotts" explores the societal and economic disparities between the working-class Holt family and the affluent Abbott family, highlighting how these differences impact relationships and aspirations.
  • Coming of Age: The film delves into the coming-of-age experiences of the Holt brothers as they navigate love, family expectations, and personal growth.
  • Family Secrets: The narrative involves the revelation of long-held family secrets that have a profound impact on the characters' lives.


  • Billy Crudup: He plays Jacey Holt, one of the Holt brothers.
  • Joaquin Phoenix: He portrays Doug Holt, the other Holt brother.
  • Jennifer Connelly: She plays Eleanor Abbott, one of the Abbott sisters.
  • Liv Tyler: She portrays Pamela Abbott, the other Abbott sister.

Critical Reception:"Inventing the Abbotts" received mixed reviews from critics. While praised for its period setting, strong performances, and emotional resonance, some critics found fault with the film's pacing and felt that it didn't fully explore the depth of its characters.

Note: The film is based on a short story by Sue Miller and was adapted for the screen by Ken Hixon.

If you appreciate coming-of-age dramas set against a backdrop of social and economic differences, "Inventing the Abbotts" offers a nostalgic and poignant exploration of love and family in a small-town setting.