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Deep End of the Ocean, The (1999, Michelle Pfeiffer, Treat Williams)



Beth and Pat Cappadora (Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams) have a shared dream: to raise their three children together. But when Beth takes the family to her school reunion, it becomes a nightmare as her toddler son Ben suddenly disappears. The police, led by Detective Bliss (Whoopi Goldberg), fail to locate him, leaving Beth to return home and break the news to her husband. With no news of her son’s location, Beth becomes withdrawn and depressed, and the perfect marriage becomes a daily battle of bitter recrimination.

Nine years later the family move to Chicago, where they are befriended by Sam (Ryan Merriman), a local child. Beth is convinced he is actually Ben, and begins accumulating evidence to persuade the police of his real identity. As she prepares to confront Sam’s adoptive father, reunite the family and repair her life, Beth has to decide whether reconciliation may finally tear her family apart…

After Oprah ennobled the novel in prime time, Mitchard’s tale became a best seller. And although a movie adaptation was inevitable, the signing of Ulu Grosbard as director was not. The 70-year-old former diamond cutter was selective – having made seven movies in three decades – and distanced from the Hollywood crowd. The prospect of teaming him with Pfeiffer was intriguing. As the troubled teenage son implicated in Ben’s disappearance, Jonathan Jackson offers depth, keeping the audience guessing as to the final outcome, which might not be the happy ending expected.

production details
USA | 106 minutes | 1999

Director: Ulu Grosbard
Writer: Stephen Schiff, from the book by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Michelle Pfeiffer as Beth Cappadora
Treat Williams as Pat Cappadora
Whoopi Goldberg as Candy Bliss
Jonathan Jackson as Vincent Cappadora – Age 16
Cory Buck as Vincent Cappadora – Age 7
Ryan Merriman as Sam Karras / Ben Cappadora – Age 12
Alexa PenaVega as Kerry Cappadora
Michael McGrady as Jimmy Daugherty
Brenda Strong as Ellen
Michael McElroy as Ben Cappadora – Age 3
Tony Musante as Grandpa Angelo
Rose Gregorio as Grandma Rosie
John Kapelos as George Karras
Lucinda Jenney as Laurie
John Roselius as Chief Bastokovich