The life of a teenager, in her last year of high school in Charleston, South Carolina, is upended when her mother leaves her father and cuts all contact with her family. Things get even ... See full summary »
The life of a teenager, in her last year of high school in Charleston, South Carolina, is upended when her mother leaves her father and cuts all contact with her family. Things get even more complicated when her older sister shows up with a new husband and a pregnancy she's bitter and ambivalent about, and moves back in. They all spend the rest of the summer trying to come to grips with their lives. Written by
This wonderful film explores matters of the heart neither in a sentimental way nor in a cynical way--rather honestly, giving respect to the feelings, hopes and thoughts of the characters. Set in present-day South Carolina, Albert Finney portrays a retired contractor, who appears to have retired from life before he retired from his job. His performance is so spot-on as to be transparent, allowing the viewer to enter completely into his character and almost "be him." The story opens with his wife leaving him, and the core of the film focusses on how he and his younger daughter, played by Kathryn Erbe, deal with this unexpected event. Miss Erbe is as good as Mr. Finney and surpasses him in delineating a "real" Southern human being, not the typical stereotype or the northerner in disguise (see: Susan Sarandon in The Client or Charles Mitchell in Cookie's Fortune--good performances but about as southern as Sherlock Holmes). This is very much an ensemble film, with good performances also coming from Suzy Amis, Piper Laurie, Alfre Woodard, and Ethan Hawke. I particularly liked Miss Amis who has a difficult partto create, sustain and evolve in a plausible fashion. She walks the actor's proverbial "tightrope" beautifully. The plot has several strands, including Miss Erbe's dealing with budding sexuality (she plays a graduating high school senior), the older sister's arrival on the scene, and others you MUST see for yourself. This movie was directed by Bruce Beresford and should have received a much wider audience when released in theatres. But its subtlety, lack of sex and violence, and its refusal to sacrifice quality for the chance of a wider audience. I strongly recommend this film.
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