Having discovered that she is pregnant, Natalie Ravenna (Shirley Knight), a Long Island housewife panics and leaves home to see if she might just possibly have made something different out ... See full summary »
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Having discovered that she is pregnant, Natalie Ravenna (Shirley Knight), a Long Island housewife panics and leaves home to see if she might just possibly have made something different out of herself; if she can manage to unshackle her grocery list worth of responsibilities that add up to a life with a husband she loves. In a motel room where Natalie stops to rest during the day, she sits motionless on the bed, and experiences the exuberance of complete freedom and the queasy feelings of new beginnings. Natalie continues on with her journey and picks up a young hitch-hiker -Killer (James Caan), an attractive brain-damaged football player. It is through Killer that poses a more disturbing question to Natalie than that of domestic responsibility. How deeply are we wedded to chance meetings and are we responsible for the crimes that we witness? Written by
Shirley Knight as Natalie Ravenna, an overwhelmed and bored suburban NY housewife who decides, upon realizing she is pregnant, that this is all there is. A mind-numbing stagnant life. She decides to hit the road, aimlessly in her station wagon to think, to figure things out.
En route she picks up brain-damaged former football player James Cann. He is functional, but naive about life in a sad way. He isn't really aware of the inhumanity man in general is capable of. We see a pastiche of American rural landscape, small towns, parades (around the Fourth of July) and the vastness of landscape as Natalie drives through stark open plains, parts of Kansas, Nebraska, etc. She figures she will stop in California as it is as "far as she can go".
Robert Duvall a local sheriff pulls her over for speeding in Kansas and for some reason she has to pay the speeding fine immediately or be held in jail. A rather silly premise, but anyway. Duvall is interested in her, she decides to put on some makeup and at least have a night out.
Duvall lives in an airstream trailer with a rather manic and annoying young daughter. When he realizes he isn't going to get anything from Natalie (she refuses to stay the night), he eventually becomes violent.
Without spoiling the ending for the audience, basically this film is interesting in parts, a bit disturbing (we see the sadness and randomness in life, as in when Cann tries to work at an animal farm/petting zoo. The animals, chicks, rabbits, goats, lambs etc. are abused, and he decides to save them).
The story is realistic in that it reflects a segment of life everyone has dealt with. The emotions Ms. Knight conveys, even by not speaking are apparent. She feels sad for Cann, but realizes her future lies in conformity. Recommended. 8/10.
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