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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

That Thing You Do! (1996)



Reviews and Comments

I'm often impressed by good movies about great fictional artists, because the filmmakers must not only create a good film, but art that the fictional artists make that's good enough to be convincing. This film, That Thing You Do!, is about a band that vaults to stardom with the title song. The film succeeds in part because the song is good. But there's more to it than that. Tom Hanks' first directorial effort proves he's not only a terrific actor, but a promising screenwriter and director also. The story is of the rise and fall of a rock group in the sixties. The charm is the witty script and insightful glances into the world behind fame. Besides directing, Hanks also co-stars in the small yet scene-stealing role of the group's agent. His instructions to them about how to present themselves to the public are among the film's finest moments. That Thing You Do! succeeds where so many films fail; it'll make you laugh and, even more importantly, leave you with that delicious sense of warmth and satisfaction that only the best of films can evoke.