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Leaving Normal (1992)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 29 April 1992 (USA)
2:20 | Trailer
For her entire life, twenty-seven year old Marianne Johnson has been on the move, the decisions which she's made as an adult which have been total failures, such as her second most recent ... See full summary »



(as Edward Solomon)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robyn Simons ...
Ken Angel ...
Barbara Russell ...
Izuzu Mother
Ahnee Boyce ...
Izuzu Judy


For her entire life, twenty-seven year old Marianne Johnson has been on the move, the decisions which she's made as an adult which have been total failures, such as her second most recent marriage to Curtis Johnson, which brought her to Normal, Wyoming. However, she has an optimistic view of life, always believing that each decision she makes will be the right one. She is a linear thinker and despite being bright in this regard, she has no life or job skills, never having had a paying job besides a short stint in the army where she met Curtis. Conversely, thirty-eight year old Darly Peters wears her failures openly on her sleeve, she bulldozing her way through life. Currently a cocktail waitress in Normal, waitressing which dominates her resumé, Darly receives news that her ex-husband, who she left eighteen years ago, has died and has deeded the house which they were building at the time in remote Palmer Valley, Alaska to her. She believes this house will be the first time in her life... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes the only way to find where you're going is to lose your way


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mary & Darly  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,514,114 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the complete song itself is not played in the movie, the piano intro to Bruce Hornsby and the Range's "The Show Goes On" is used. See more »


The crossings from Washington State into Canada are all well-developed highways; but we see them entering Canada on a narrow road with no center line. See more »


Sarah: Cigarettes are bad!
Darly: No Sarah, cigarettes are good, and when you grow up, you should smoke... mmm, cigarettes.
See more »


References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »


Crazy Love
Written and Performed by Van Morrison
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Has a "Thelma and Louise" feel to it, but with a totally different outcome.
4 July 2002 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

The title, "Leaving Normal", is clever because it refers both to physically leaving the fictitious town of Normal, WY, but more significantly, leaving the "normal" state of existence. Christine Lahti is the former dancer and waitress who never progresses beyond that, and Meg Tilley is the abused housewife who has made a series of disastrous choices in her life. As Lahti decides to do something different, and heads to Alaska to re-claim her old, unfinished homestead, she gives Tilley a ride.

They are unlikely road buddies, like Thelma and Louise were. Lahti is funny, daring, scheming (gets $100 from truck driver then slips out the window of the ladies room) and world-wise, while Tilley is just the opposite and insecure with her abilities. Ultimately they bring out the better persons residing in each.

Along the way their car breaks down, they get a ride with another lady pulling a trailer, then they are given her car and trailer when a wealthy bumpkin asks her to stay and marry him. They work their way to Alaska and look up the property, where the unfinished shell of a house still stands, weather-beaten. Through a lot of posturing, eventually they both decide to stay, we see the house being completed in a time-lapse series of shots. Lahti decides to try and find her daughter that she abandoned in the local hospital 18 years earlier.

Both act well, but Tilley is a joy to watch. Her portrayal of the half-ditzy, insecure woman is just perfect. Makes me wonder, whatever happened to Meg Tilley? She hasn't made a theatrical release movie since 1994. Unlike Thelma and Louise, where they drive off Dead Horse Point in Utah at the end, the lives of these two women literally begin as this movie ends. Seen on the "Women's Entertainment" channel, a really good movie, doesn't always take itself too seriously, and has an uplifting message. We are left to wonder if Lahti ever finds her daughter, whether Tilley's trucker friend ever shows up again. Maybe they considered a sequel, but the film wasn't popular to warrant that.

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