Best described as Driving Miss Daisy 2, A Family Thing is a way-way-melodramatic picture about an aging, backwards, racist, Arkansas hick, Earl Pilcher (Robert Duvall). Earl's mother, on her death bed, writes him a letter, telling Earl that in reality, she was not his mother at all, that his real mother was a black woman, and that she died having him in childbirth. Mom #2 implores him to seek out his half-brother in Chicago, for reasons never really explained.
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Following his scuffle, the Navy hustles Fisher into therapy, where the man's true demons - and the film's true purpose - can be explored. Fisher is observed by superior officer Dr. Jerome Davenport (Washington), who is given three sessions to dig up the root of his new patient's moody swings. The normal teacher/student routines set in, largely characterized by Fisher's initial resistance and Davenport's tough love.
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