Alabama, 1957. Pampered Souther belle Maggie DeLoach and her fellow sorority sisters Delia June, Keefi, and chapter president M.A., at Randolph College have lived the cosseted good life, free from worry and the strife that's starting to affect the rest of the Deep South during the Civil Rights movement. But when Maggie meets a liberal and dashing young photographer named Hoyt Cunningham who talks about the impending changes in the South, as well the radical talk from her outgoing classmate Aiken, Maggie knows her life will soon change too. Written by
Jason Bruce Robertson utilized his 1968 Chevy Camaro SS, as requested due to the need for "older" vehicles. However, it was cut from the film due to continuity issues, with the film supposedly set in the 1950's and not the late 1960's. See more »
In the final scene with the national guard posted outside the administration building, the air conditioners which are placed prominently in two front windows are certainly not the type or size of air conditioners in 1957. See more »
Lightweight but earnest social-consciousness fare, bears viewing.
THE HEART OF DIXIE has been called lightweight social-consciousness fare. I would have to agree. If you know anything about the American civil rights movement you will not learn anything new from this movie. Nor will you meet any of the movement's historical figures. This film is not so much about the fight for equality as about the awakening of a new social consciousness in the South. The acting is solid (if melodramatic at times), and the film gives a glimpse of 1950's segregation and the lingering rigid social order of the Old South. A few scenes might be disturbing or offensive to some, but they don't strike me as being out of keeping with the setting and characters. Ally Sheedy is likeable as a southern everygirl journalism student who takes up the civil rights cause after coming face-to-face with the brutality of segregation. Virginia Madsen is believable as a traditional southern vamp, as is Treat Williams as Sheedy's photojournalist mentor. The remaining supporting cast is also credible as an assortment of good ol' boys, aristocrats, southern belles, and black laborers. I was greatly disappointed to find that Phoebe Cates plays only a minor role despite receiving 3rd billing. She is so appealing as outspoken, optimistic, free-spirited rebel Aiken Reed that you have to wonder why her character wasn't put to better use. As it is, she serves primarily as the symbol of a new southern womanhood, eager to throw off the societal mores that have held her back and yearning to come into her own.
There are certainly more powerful and compelling movies about the civil rights movement. Still, THE HEART OF DIXIE is an earnest little film that that bears viewing.
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