We were the Mulvaneys

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The title of the movie says it all.

We ‘were’.

Never again.

This movie isn’t new but it’s one of my all-time favourites.

It’s so deep, so real, so honest and so many families can relate to it.

It’s your typical story of a well off enough family that has it all. A husband with a good career, a beautiful doting mother, and well brought up kids who have been given the best education, morals and the best that life can offer.

It’s the American dream.

And then it all slowly but surely begins to fall apart. Bit by bit.

Starting with the rape of the only daughter.

The father can’t handle it and from there onwards it’s downwards south for all of the Mulvaneys.

There is special emphasis on the daughter in question who finds herself alone and on the streets with no help or support from her family who turn their backs on her.

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To her family, her presence was a painful reminder of a shame they wanted to forget.

It’s sad, emotional and a struggle with family that most girls will relate to in many different ways.

 Tammy Blanchard and Blythe Danner in We Were the Mulvaneys (2002)

Happily, it’s also about the light at the end of the tunnel… at the end of the terrible pain and suffering.


For women it’s also about finding that ever so gallant and caring Prince Charming who comes along and sweeps you off your feet just when you think you can’t even stand up again.

For families it’s about the conflicts and unforgivable crimes between one another and it’s also about letting go.

This movie is so many things to many people.

Most family members can relate.

Imagine the ideal family that society looked up to and thought was as stable as a rock easily coming apart at the seams.

In the end, the thread is put back together again. But it can never be the same. There are loose ends, and the thread is worn.

There is pent up pain, but at the same time there is forgiveness and enduring love.

There is tolerance, patience, amazing courage and imperfections that become perfect just as a sword becomes magnificent because it has been forged through fire and brimstone.

We were the Mulvaneys. We all were.


We Were the Mulvaneys is a novel written by Joyce Carol Oates and was published in 1996. It was featured in Oprah’s Book Club in 2001 …

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Ratings: 9/10



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