The Trip to Bountiful (1985) Poster

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You Can't Go Home Again.....
wrdiggs12 August 2003
The effects of the aging process is touchingly portrayed by Geraldine Page in this warm human drama set in rural Texas in 1947.

Carrie Watts (Page), now a lonely widow, is being taken care of by her son, Ludie (John Heard) and his wife Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn) in a cramped two-room apartment in Houston.

The two women spend all of their time being irritable to each other while Ludie is caught in the middle. Though trying admirably to do the right thing by the two women in his life, the situation is tense.

Carrie yearns to return to the family farm where she grew up, hoping to recapture some of the happiness of her youth. She has even tried to run away a few times, only to be stopped by her son and daughter-in-law who, in spite of their differences are only trying to spare her the disappointment of what she may find.

Her hometown, Bountiful, now basicly no longer exists. The people just "used up the land and moved on". All that remains are a few abandoned and deteriorating buildings, including her childhood home. Nevertheless, Carrie finally succeeds in slipping away.

On the way, she meets a young wife, Thelma (Rebecca DeMornay), whose husband is overseas in the military behind enemy lines. As they converse, it is obvious they are both on a quest, Carrie to recapture her youth and Thelma to hold on to hers, not knowing if she will ever see her husband again. Until he returns, she is going back to stay with her parents. The two women form a bond and find each other a source of strength on the long bus ride. Though we hope for Thelma's eventual happiness, somehow we know that only disillusionment awaits Carrie in Bountiful.

Filmed as a play with the advantages of outdoor scenery, the entire cast and crew did a splendid job, presenting a difficult subject in a tasteful manner. Page won an Oscar in what was to be her last role shortly before her death. Besides the other supporting players, Richard Bradford was also outstanding as the compassionate Sheriff who helped Carrie obtain her goal. The period pieces, all of those old 40's automobiles and the architecture and scenery, the general "feel" of small-town Texas during that era, helped add to the realism of the film. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL should be recognized as a national treasure.
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Where's the DVD??
GareThere15 December 2004
Geraldine Page won the Best Actress Oscar for this film in 1985. And it's no wonder why. The movie almost unfolds as a Broadway play. It may seem depressing at first, but that's the gift that Geraldine has in portraying the emotions of an aging Southern mother who yearns to return to the small town she left in Texas many many years before. For whatever reason, this film hits an emotional chord with me because Geraldine Page reminds me so much of my maternal grandmother. If you're into fast paced, action flicks - or comic farces, you won't like this film. But, if you really appreciate character development that slowly unfolds and develops in a film, you should not pass up this one!
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algernon422 January 2001
I came back to read my original review of "The Trip to Bountiful" after I viewed the film again the other night. I read the other accounts of the movie and I couldn't help by get very emotional reading the words of praise for Geraldine Page's memorable performance.

The night she won the Oscar was big news in New York, where she lived and taught. One news program's crew visited a cafe where Miss Page's students were watching the ceremonies on tv. When F. Murray Abraham opened the envelope and said, "...and the winner is the greatest actress.." her students began to scream and cry BEFORE her name was called. They KNEW who had won, and so did I. I wept right along with them, just as I had done when I, a former actor, realized that very few actors would ever reach her level of artistry.

I watched "Bountiful" over and over in disbelief. Her scenes on the bus with Rebecca de Mornay were wonderful and very touching. I kept wondering HOW did she prepared herself for this?!!! When she rode, with the Sheriff through what was left of Bountiful and uttered, "My God, will you look at Bountiful..." Her walk through the old house and her gaze as she looked at the land, the trees and the birds reminded me of a visit to the old country town of my childhood, reminding me that everywhere I've ever been is still there, perhaps in a different form, but it's still there.

The reason that she got that standing ovation from the Academy Awards audience, is that it was appropriate to honor greatness and that the Oscar was going to an actor that TRULY deserved to win.

In an age that Oscars are won for okay performances, when, in other years, Oscars were truly given to deserving achievements, AND, the competition was much, much stronger.

I cannot recommend this picture more. For any aspiring actor that wants to set a goal standard for greatest, he or she must see this performance.
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A glorious adventure of the spirit!
Timothy Kirby16 September 2004
Carrie Watts (Oscar winning Geraldine Page) has been cooped up in a 2 room Houston apartment with her meek son and her outspoken daughter-in-law for twenty years. Getting on in her years, and equipped with a bad heart, her only wish is to see her home on the southern coast of Texas (Bountiful) before she dies. She has often attempted to go there, but always seems to get caught before she can even get on the bus. But one glorious day, she does manage to escape the confines of the apartment and her critical daughter-in-law, and thus, her adventure does begin. Mrs. Watts encounters a delightful young lady (Rebecca de Mornay)and relates her life story, sings hymns to her heart's content, and finally, through sheer will and perseverance, does make it to Bountiful, where she discovers that her one time home is now a timeworn shell. Here, she rediscovers her past, and all of the emotions she experiences and shares with us are to be treasured for generations to come. Geraldine Page is so masterful and in every frame of this monumental film, that we tend to forget that she is even acting. Her character could be our grandmother, our mother, and we come to love this eccentric character as though she were family. One of the most charming movies ever made!
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Geraldine Page was the best female American actor of her era
bobbobwhite13 September 2005
Note, I didn't say movie star as she certainly was not a movie star but was a veteran Broadway actor, a real actor and not a movie face with "presence". Charles Bronson once said that what big movie stars have is "presence", not acting ability. Page has both of these attributes here in spades, acting and presence.

This great film could be my grandmother's story but in reverse, as my grandma had a very caring daughter, my mother, but a resentful son-in-law in my father so I saw a very similar story first hand, which made me appreciate this film all the more.

Page did a marvelous job of showing the immense disconnect between two diverse generations, one raised early in the 20th century in an era of intense religious devotion and the other raised 40 years later in a WWII era of emerging personal independence. The resulting conflicts between the loving son's selfish and demanding wife and his self-sacrificing mother was the entire story until her eventful "trip" back home to Bountiful, Texas. Wanting and praying so hard to be able to take her last trip home consumed her entire life as she gracefully but tearfully faced her hateful daughter-in-law's cruel harshness each and every day, with her unfortunate son forced to try to act as mediator. John Heard was effective as her concerned son caught in the middle.

Page was marvelous in the special way she showed her character's intense religious devotion and principles in how she always treated all people with decency even when they were not that way to her, and in how she tried her best to get along and be friendly in the face of intense dislike and resentment. Understandably, her all-day hymn singing got on her son's wife's nerves, just as my Grandma's incessant hymn singing got on my dad's nerves and forced the same conclusion....both old ladies were practically forced to leave.

Page's son loved both women dearly but he was forced to be in the difficult middle ground, wanting to please his jerk wife and his nice mom but was increasingly unable to do so, thus the long bus "trip" back home for mom was an inevitable run-away trip that left the son in an even greater what to do?

On her bus trip home, Page's character's "live and let live" understanding of humanity, and her awareness that we are all in the same boat here on earth(even though it was God's glorious boat to her)led her to reach out to a fellow bus traveler with immense friendliness and compassion in the best manner of her religion's teachings. Rebecca DeMornay was perfect as that fellow bus traveler, a prim young military wife on her way to her husband. And, even though Thomas Wolfe was right when he wrote that "you can never go home again", Page showed the perfect combination of wonder and sad acceptance upon seeing her old, run down, country home place again after so many years away in the big city.

Though her caring son finally came to retrieve her back home to whatever improvements he had worked out with his wife, at least she got to see the "old home place" one last time. She could now rest in peace no matter what. See this great story just to fill your heart, and to see that people in this country once were just like Page's character, and it was a better place for it.

Movies don't get any better than this one. If you loved this film you will also love "Places in The Heart".
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"If Your Son Marries, You Lose A Son"
stryker-521 June 1999
This is a gentle, contemplative little film. It is the story of an old woman's return to her pre-Depression home, and the memories and regrets that the journey invokes.

Mother Watts lives with her son Ludie and his wife Jessie Mae in a two-room apartment. Life is cramped. Mother has to sleep on the couch, everybody in the apartment is constantly getting in everybody else's way, physically and emotionally, and the neighbours can hear every word. Mother Watts is a country girl in spirit, having been raised on the land, and her yearning to get away from the rootless, joyless suburbs eventually overwhelms her ...

The film is set in the nascent middle-class suburban environment of Houston, Texas in the 1940's. Ludie and Jessie Mae are a typical couple in their early middle years: he is hoping for a salary raise, so that he can afford a house and a car, she inhabits a narrow psychological world of nice clothes, coffee shops and picture shows. Ludie's mother lives with them, and this irritates Jessie Mae intensely. The two women clash repeatedly as Jessie Mae constantly seeks to assert her ascendancy within the household.

Mother Watts is a simple soul. She sings the hymns she learnt as a child as she goes about her dreary chores (Jessie Mae does no housework). Mother receives a monthly pension cheque from the government, and this seems to be the only reason that Jessie Mae tolerates her presence. The daughter-in-law clearly regards the cheque as her own property.

The old lady inhabits a world of reverie, an intuitive, emotional world of memories. The full moon keeps her awake all night, as it did when she lived in the rural community of Bountiful, some 20 years previously. In the glow of the moonlight, she hankers for that idealised country life. When Jessie Mae switches on the electric light, its harsh glare ends the dream-time abruptly, stark modernism cutting Mother Watts' links with her own personal history.

Mother Watts resolves to make one last trip to Bountiful. On her way she encounters obstacles (she has enormous difficulty cashing her cheque) and disappointments (death and progress have transformed the Bountiful of her memories). However, she also meets with the kindness of strangers. Thelma, the young woman who is travelling her way, befriends her and shares confidences with her. Mother Watts reveals that two of her children died in Bountiful - one of diphtheria, one of sheer poverty. The local sheriff (Richard Bradford) undergoes a change of heart and helps the old woman to revisit the place of her dreams.

When Ludie and Jessie Mae finally catch up with the wandering old lady, Ludie momentarily glimpses that other world, the world of soil, simplicity and communal spirit. Jessie Mae is of course impervious to Bountiful's charms, and she seems utterly out of place in her white high-heels.

The 'message' of this nostalgic little film is that people who live on the land put down roots which sustain them them through hardship and sadness, whereas the shallow urbanites have nothing to bolster their bland existence. Mother Watts may have lost two babies, but she is infinitely more fulfilled than Jessie Mae, who has never had any children.

An excellent period feel suffuses the film. The early scenes in the apartment are suitable claustrophobic, helping to develop the theme of 'hemming-in'. By contrast, when Mother Watts begins her bus ride, the screen opens out into an impressive panorama of land and sky. We feel that this will be Mother Watts' final adventure in life, and this elegiac quality is subtly underscored by clever touches: we see her behind a glass panel at the bus station, with the lettering "Houston Terminal Cafe" obliterating her face.

Geraldine Page is great as Mother Watts, keeping her character simple and humble, and resisting the temptation to 'grandstand'. John Heard impresses in the role of Ludie, the slightly downtrodden son who strives to do the right thing. Again, the characterisation is spot-on ... Ludie is dull and inarticulate, and Heard grounds him in bathos. Carlin Glynn has fun playing the awful Jessie Mae, and Rebecca de Mornay is first-class as the sweet-natured Thelma.

A restricted palate can sometimes produce the most powerful effects. The final scene, where Mother Watts gets her fingers in the dirt one last time, is a terrific climax, built up slowly and patiently, and relying purely on the interplay of characters.
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Standing Ovation
Mario-3428 April 1999
I knew nothing of this film, the night of the Academy Awards, but what I always remember about that Oscar night, is the moment they announced Geraldine Page as the winner for Best Actress ... the entire audience gave her a standing ovation. You just don't see that very often on Oscar night - not unless it's something special. That really impressed me. So I had to see what it was all about.

Well, Geraldine Page, put on a clinic in this movie. She is incredible. I just can't say enough about her performance, so I won't even try. You will just have to see it.

It is great to know that a spectacular movie can still be made with a simple but strong story line. No violence, no foul language, no special effects. Pure raw emotion,a big heart, the music and the beautiful photography carried the entire film. If you ever find yourself looking for a simple but magnificent story ... this is it. And don't rent it - buy it!
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Geraldine's finest hour
Boyo-214 January 1999
When F. Murray Abraham opened the envelope to reveal the Best Actress winner that year, he said "I consider this woman the finest actress in the world", and its hard to argue that point. She owns this movie and no one else would have done it as beautifully. Thank God this movie was done before she passed.
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A Great Loss
lena77111 May 2001
All I can say is Ms Page is my favorite.We all miss her.I have watched this movie dozens of times and am struck by what an outstanding performance she gives us in this picture.

Yes I do indeed cry everytime I watch this film and think it will always touch me whenever I see it.I have my copy of it but it is becoming rather used so I intend on purchasing another.

I don't think the world will ever see the likes of another Geraldine Page,at least not in my life time.What a great loss.
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A Beautiful Film
Brett Walter21 February 2003
Geraldine Page is most definatly one of the best actress in American film history. I this film, made just two years before she died, she plays Carrie Watts, a sixty year old living in a two room apartment with her son and daughter in law. For the past five year, Carrie has wanted only one thing, to go back to her hometown before she dies. Unfortunatly, her son and daughter-in-law think its a bad idea. Finding the right moment to escape, Carrie Watts runs away and begins The Trip To Bountiful.

A simple plot yes. But the acting is top notch. It's also kind of sad. Not just becuase of its bittersweet plot, but because of the timing. This film was first screened in early 1985 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it recieved great reviews. Released theatrically in the fall of 1985, it did well for an independant film and in March 1986, Page recieved her first Oscar on her 8th nomination, which was accompined by a standing ovation. Hollywood insiders said that Page's carrer would flourish again, and an adaptation of "The Glass Managerie" went into development, with Page to co-star with Paul Newman and Meryl Streep. 15 months after the Oscars, Page was dead, A heart attack claimed her life. She won an Oscar for her last leading role.
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" took a master at her craft..."
Kunta3129 December 2001
Geraldine Page in no doubt has to be one of the greatest actors ever! I do not say this lightly. Though I am not very familiar with her other performances, I am convinced that this is her greatest achievement. The role of Carrie Watts is an actors role, and not just any "ole" actor can transform themselves into, it took a master at her craft... Geraldine Page! Every emotion, action, facial expression was perfect... from her sinking spells, to being offered a sandwich by Thelma (Rebecca DeMornay), from her spats with Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn), to remembering her first love, from her humorous dialogue getting her bus ticket, and to (one of the greatest scenes in acting ) her soul-wrenching plead to the sheriff (Richard Bradford) for him to let her go the 12 miles to Bountiful, "...understand me, suffering I don't mind, suffering I understand..."

To me this movie was great, but it isn't for everyone, not even those who "claim" they like good acting. The writing, direction, music, and of course the other actors were all wonderful compliments to Geraldine Page and her role of a lifetime! I gave it a 10.
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An Oscar for Geraldine Page
Ralph McKnight29 November 1998
After many tries, Geraldine Page finally won the Oscar that had eluded her for years. As Carrie Watts, she delivered a near perfect performance and on Academy Award night walked off with the coveted prize.

Earlier, she had stunned the world with her brilliant acting in Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" with Paul Newman. But 1962 was ripe with excellent female nominees including Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and the winner that year, Anne Bancroft.

"The Trip to Bountiful" was a small, intimate film about an unhappy, elderly woman who yearns to visit her girlhood home before she dies. She has tried, unsuccessfully several times before, but was stopped by her loving son and disapproving daughter-in-law, skilfully played by Carlin Glynn as "Jessie Mae".

Once on the bus to Bountiful, Mrs. Watts meets a lovely young girl played by Rebecca De Mornay in whom she confides. Miss Page was wonderful here with every nuance, side glance and gesture. Her years of experience as a stage and film actress showed loud and clear. She was brilliant. This prompted actress, Shelley Winters to comment, "this is one of the greatest performances I've ever seen".

Scene after scene, Geraldine Page, does what few actresses can do, breathe REAL LIFE into a character. Her physical aliments and limitations are not exagerrated, but felt. Her emotional highs and lows speak volumes and you find yourself sharing her inner feelings.

Carlin Glynn deserved a nomination as Best Supporting Actress. But, I suppose the Academy members were so enthralled with Miss Page, they couldn't SEE anyone else on the screen!

The supporting cast was strong. I especially liked Richard Bradford as the Sheriff who personally takes Mrs. Watts on her "trip to Bountiful". The scene where Page peers at her old home and says "I can almost see my father walk out of this house..." was heartbreaking. Writer, Horton Foote, was obviously writing from experience and director, Peter Masterson showed compassion and respect for the script and for his actors.

Do NOT miss this one.
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A Masterpiece
cjammincoop4 May 2002
This movie should be classified as all time favorite. I really enjoyed this film whenever I watch it I think of times when I to was a child and a young adult. I remember when times were not so fast paced, I'm originally from a small town in Florida called Ocala. I think of it often and have found memories and I long to be back there often. Geraldine page put true emotions and feelings into this part. I have added this movie to my collection and watch it often, my children see how moved I am by the movie. They enjoy watching it now. Thanks for allowing me to write a little piece on this remarkable movie. I will treasure this movie in my heart for always.


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Page literally burns thru screen in late-nite bus-depot scene.
wayne-9114 January 2002
Oh man, what peice of work. I'll admit to being a Horton Foote fan anyway, but THIS movie drills deep into your soul and will stay there as long as you draw breath. There's a spark inside Geraldine Page that finally combusts in a darkened bus depot-- a scene that is the result of masterful character development. No explosion from the biggest-budget action flick can match the concussion of Page's long-suppressed screed.
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How Much Do I Love This Movie?
AggieCutie9719 October 2001
I remember first watching this movie as a teenager and how it captivated me with it's simplicity and charm. Only a handful of movies have stuck with me like this one has. Geraldine Page's performance was so incredible and the story itself so heart-warming. I HIGHLY recommend this movie. Most definitely a 10.
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A personal, generational favorite in our family.
Iammymothersdaughter24 October 2001
This movie is so achingly, movingly wonderful that it is hard to describe it accurately. Geraldine Page has got to be the best actress of all time. The only one I can think of who comes close is(was) Jessica Tandy. In Ms. Page's role for this film, she brings to life and light the plight that so many older, widowed people are facing daily. In the place where I work, many of our clients could easily be Ms. Carrie Watts. (I work at a Legal Aid Society). The empathy she creates as she brings Ms. Watts to life is astounding to me. She really, really "gets" it.

To be sure, John Heard's portrayal of Ms. Watt's son Lutie was flawless as well - the strain he feels trying to please both of the most important women in his life is almost palpable. Again, this is so close to real life that it breaks your heart to watch it. Carlin Glynn's portrayal of Lutie's hard-headed wife Jessie Mae brings me to tears at several points in this film, no matter how many times I watch it. You can't help but feel aggravated with her but also angry at her for her treatment of her mother-in-law. Ms. Glynn's performance was dead-on.

My mom recommended this movie to me, it is her favorite. My grandmother also loves this film. It's a generational tradition in our family. If you've never seen it PLEASE don't miss out! It is so worth the effort to find.
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Simple, Touching Film with a Glowing Star Performance
dglink5 December 2005
Film performances do not get much better than this one.

An aging woman, who uncomfortably shares the Houston home of her son and daughter in law, yearns to make one last trip to her childhood home in the fast-disappearing town of Bountiful. The gentle tale of the woman's wily escape from her family is told in a simple straightforward style that does nothing to detract from the glory of Geraldine Page's career-topping performance as Carrie Watts.

There are no histrionic scenes in the film of the type that generally capture Oscar attention. Page's performance, however, has such depth and heartfelt, yet subtle, emotion, that the viewer is immersed in her quest to return home, and only the hardest stoic will be dry eyed when she sits on the porch of her parents' derelict house and says that she almost expected her father and mother to greet her at the door. Obviously Oscar voters in 1985 left tear stains on their ballots.

Carrie's journey from Houston to Bountiful is filled with memories as she relates pieces of her past to a young woman en route, to the night clerk at a bus station, and to a local sheriff. The people she meets share more of her past than her dull son or shrewish daughter in law. Although the supporting cast, which includes John Heard, Rebecca De Mornay, and Richard Bradford, is fine, each member underplays his or her part in such a way that they enhance and do not detract from Geraldine Page's work. Carlin Glynn's selfish daughter in law is the only character that tries to compete with Page.

When Carrie hears that the last friend she had in Bountiful has died, one can feel the empty hollowness and loneliness that such loss brings through Page's eyes and body language. Hers is a performance that commands attention from the first scene without flamboyance or mannerisms. She captures and holds the viewer with her soul and her deep understanding of the character and the character's need and yearning to return to the last place where she was loved. "The Trip to Bountiful" is haunting, heartbreaking, and yet ultimately uplifting.
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Come Home...
Blooeyz20016 May 2002
We all have fond memories of where we came from. This is the story of an elderly woman who wants to go back to the place of her youth once more before she dies. That place is Bountiful, Texas. Fond & painful memories of family, friends, & farming are all there & she'll get there again if it's the last thing she does, because the desire is so intense. Her life (in a cramped apartment in Houston with her dullard son & his shallow Coca-Cola drinking wife)after she sees Bountiful once more can actually be bearable because she'll be at peace with herself & her roots. The scene where Mother Watts opens up to a kind stranger on a bus speaks volumes about how you can live with someone & not even know them. She opens her heart to this woman, but her own family were oblivious to her pain, yearning, & heartbreak. Had her son truly known his mom's feelings, he might've just taken her there. A truly touching scene is when she finally gets there & sits on the porch of her deserted former home. She feels as though her mother & father will walk out of the house & greet her. This is a movie for people who are in touch with their feelings. If you enjoy a heartfelt drama watch this film.
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A touching, sensitive story that will tug at your emotions!
gitrich7 November 1998
Geraldine Page won a well deserved Oscar for her role as a widow women living with her son and daughter in law. The two women can not seem to get along prompting the mother to leave in search for one last look at her home in Bountiful Texas. A fine cast includes John Heard as the kind son trying to do the right thing, and Carlin Glynn as his wife, a basically good person who can just not seem to share her life with her mother in law with out complaining. Rebecca De Mornay is effective as a young girl who shares some time on a train headed for Bountiful. The music can be credited to Jack Redford and fits the film perfectly. See and enjoy this touching look at what home means for many who find themselves away and getting up in age.
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Happy ending to sad depiction of elder abuse
Marian1 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with the person who wrote: "THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL should be recognized as a national treasure." This is probably one of my favorite films -- along with Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows; Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot's Holiday, and of course, The Wizard of Oz.

If Mrs. Waits (Geraldine Page) in the film is only 60 years old, it makes me feel sad. It scares me that older people can be so extremely dominated by their relatives as Mrs. Waits was. Her Social Security check was nabbed by the daughter-in-law before she ever touched it. And the daughter in law also kept saying "No More Singing!" to her.

I'm 65, and a musician/singer. My late husband was controlled in his last days by people who had hidden agendas. I certainly did not know what all of these agendas were! There were philosophical and medical battles going on over his care, between various HMO departments, and battles among family members about who got what after his death. Items he treasured disappeared from his apartment while he was still living.

My mother is 90, and we make sure that she makes as many of her own decisions as she is able to do. My sister has not claimed her legally allowable status as power of attorney, thus taking control of Mother's finances and her every decision, the way my late husband's son did against his father! The very fact that Mrs. Waits had to "sneak" and "excape" from her own home was sad indeed -- particularly since she had to sneak in getting her own Social Security check from the mail carrier.

Even though this is a very beautiful and touching film, The Trip to Bountiful has more to it than at first meets the eye: the rights of the elderly are staring us right in the face!
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Sentimental Journey
dmwhite5024 April 2007
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is one of those little, independent films that touch you at the deepest level of your heart and remind you of your own family, and of your own misplaced dreams and of your need to connect with home, and with your purpose in life. The haunting, but simple music, (with the lovely rendition of "Softly and Tenderly" by Cynthia Clawson) greatly adds to the film's sentimental tone, without ever becoming intrusive or maudlin. I saw this film several times in the theatre when it first was released, and was always amazed that people did not leave during the closing credits, but stayed to the very end listening to the beautiful music. Perhaps, like me, they were also wiping away a tear or two. The film is a pleasing blend of laughs and tears. I always loved the late, great Geraldine Page. I was overjoyed when she won the Academy Award for her brilliant acting here as Carrie Watts. And not a minute too soon it seems, because she was dead of a sudden heart attack a little over a year later. I am so glad Page received that richly deserved recognition. I recommend all to see her in this role, and see what acting is!
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Wow, What An Emotional Movie
dellajo3 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I am going to try not to be redundant. Other commenters have quite rightly lauded the brilliant performance of the late Geraldine Page, but lost in the shuffle is just how damn good John Heard also is in this movie. His character is all about failure and disappointment and trying not to have to face your past. (You get some of the same feel from the corrupt cop he played in the Sopranos.) The first time I watched this movie, I was awestruck by Page, but the second time I saw it, I realized the movie is really more about Heard's character, and why he is so intent on keeping his poor old mother from seeing her home town, a request that on its face seems fairly reasonable.

Carlin Glynn is also superb. Her character is actually a lot more complicated than one might think from reading the comments. To cite just one example: There is a scene near the start of the movie where the childless couple is retiring to their separated double beds for the night, and she looks over and sees him reading a book called something like "How To Succeed In Business." From earlier scenes, we know that Heard's character is going nowhere. Carlin Glynn's character, although a social striver, still loves her husband, and seems not at all resentful about his obvious shortcomings (in the way she is about her mother-in-law's presence). When he tells her the title of the book, she just gives him a kind smile. Does Hollywood even know how to tell a story anymore about someone who is both likable and unlikable? In the real world, aren't there a whole lot more people like that than like any of the characters you see in the movies? This movie is filled with understated scenes like this one.
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What Would We Considfer "Bountiful"?
Hitchcoc17 March 2017
To summarize this wonderful movie can't do it justice because it is through Geraldine Page's Mama where the whole becomes so much greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes pain becomes comfort as we watch our days go by. Carrie Watts (Mama) has been in conflict with her daughter for years, but she is dependent on her and their fights never take them anywhere. Now aging, she wants to go back to Bountiful to try to recapture some of her youth. Of course, we have seen the them of "You Can't Go Home Again" played out so many times. But the bleakness of her "paradise" is so gut wrenching, we feel her pain, especially her trip into the old house. Even if we live for only a day, it is a new day with new challenges and excitement. The performance her by Page won an Academy Award and it was so deserved. While this film may make one sad, it's not maudlin or cheap or contrived.
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What the Old can Teach the Young
evanston_dad3 January 2017
I saw "The Trip to Bountiful" on stage at Chicago's Goodman Theatre with Lois Smith in the role played by Geraldine Page in the film. I thought it was touching if not deeply affecting, and my principal interest in seeing the movie was to see Page's Oscar-winning interpretation of the role. I did not expect to be punched in the gut by the film, but man was I reduced to a puddle by the time this film was over.

Page gives an astonishing performance as Carrie Watts. I first reacted to her the way I do all of Page's creations -- I was put off by her mannered line deliveries, and I thought she was playing the role too broadly, turning Carrie into a tantrum-throwing child. But as the movie unfolds, Page's mannerisms calm down and her character matures before our eyes the farther she gets from her unhappy present and the closer she gets to her ruminative past, and the history she has accumulated along the way. "The Trip to Bountiful" is about, among other things, valuing and remembering the past, even when it hurts to do so. For it's our pasts, like it or not, that shape who we become. John Heard, who I never hear anyone talk about but who is equally wonderful in this film as Page's son, has a marvelous scene with Page at the movie's end where he finally stops dismissing his batty mom and listens to her and her advice, and discovers that there's a lot to learn from those who have been on this planet longer than us.

I was afraid "The Trip to Bountiful" would be mawkish and maudlin, and I suppose it might be to some -- maybe it would seem so to me if I had watched it in a different mood or at a different time in my life. But I instead found it to be bittersweet and painful in a cathartic way. It literally made my heart hurt, but the sensation was weirdly pleasant, if that makes any sense at all.

Grade: A
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