family man

The Family Man

For the CBS/Miller-Boyett series, see The Family Man (TV Series)

The Family Man is a 2000 American comedy-drama film, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni.

The film centers on a man who sees what could have been had he made a different decision thirteen years ago. It is similar to It's a Wonderful Life in that it begins on Christmas Eve with a life-and-death situation involving an angel who tries to convince the main character into taking an earnest look at his life. Moreover, in the end, the protagonists in both movies conclude that living a quiet family life is preferable to achieving success and wealth at work.

The film has also been compared to Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol in that the protagonist is a greedy man who cares little about anyone except himself, who then has his life outlook completely changed after a series of real-life "what if?" experiences.


Jack Campbell is a single, wealthy Wall Street investment banker living the high life in New York City. All that magically changes one morning when he wakes up in a suburban New Jersey bedroom with the wife he never married and the two kids he never had—the life he would have led had he forgone investment banking as a younger man. While he desperately wishes to return to his high life, Jack is stuck in a "permanent acid trip" because an angel wants to teach the overly confident man a lesson. However, as he lives his life as a "family man," he gradually, grudgingly but inexorably, grows attached to the family he never had. When he finally realizes the true value of his new life, his epiphany jolts him back to his wealthy—yet as he now realizes, lonely—former life. In desperation, he forgoes closing his $130 billion acquisition deal to intercept his dream wife before she heads off to Paris. He tells her about the happy family that they could have together; met with complete incredulity, he relates in impossibly precise detail what he remembers of his dream life. Shocked but intrigued, she agrees to a cup of coffee at the airport—suggesting that they might have a future after all.


Shared themes

Similar films include:

  • Mr. Destiny, in which an angel-like being shows a man how his world would have been if an event in his past happened differently.
  • It's a Wonderful Life, in which a man is able to see how things could have been if he'd never lived.

External links

  • {{amg title|id=1:229073}title-The Family Man}}

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