A woman constantly runs from town to town with her 12 year old daughter to escape failed relationships. The film opens with one escape and the shift into a new start in San Diego. There Mom takes up with a controlling trucker and fights with her weirdo boss. Meanwhile, the daughter, used to making the constant shifts, finds a fit at school including getting chosen for a play lead. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An unoriginal premise made good by the writing and performances
Mary Jo Walker is constantly on the road. She moves from state to state as one relationship ends and she heads out looking for another. Her daughter is used to the unsettled lifestyle but starts to feel at home in her new school once she gets a lead role in the school play. Mary Jo gets herself a job and a new boyfriend, trucker Jack, however how long will it be before problems put her on the road again?
As a concept, this film lacks originality - the plot and the characters will be recognisable from other films, but that in itself is not a bad thing as nothing is ever totally unique (well, rarely). That said, this film still manages to be enjoyable and engaging thanks to a well written script that gives us characters and not caricatures combined with some very good performances to deliver them. The story relies heavily on the characters and this really does a good job of bringing those out to the strength of the film. It struggles towards the end with a bit of sentimentality that betrays what has gone before but mostly it is pretty true to itself.
The writing allows Mary Jo to be a complex character but yet one that we can understand and sympathise with even if we can't empathise. Likewise her relationship are real rather than just being one-dimensional - with Jack we can easily see the major problems between them but we can also see what drew them together. This works because the film has the cast to deliver these characters well. McTeer was Oscar nominated for this film and she deserved t hat at least. Her thunder was stolen a year or so later by Roberts' doing a similar performance but in a bigger film (thus more kudos). She is very good and she made the film. Brown is just as good and isn't the `cute kid' that can kill movies. Sanders has the worst role and he knows it - his white knight threatens the whole film but it is not his fault. O'Conner gets the triple by being good as Jack as well as doing the business with directing and writing.
Overall, I wasn't sure if I'd like this film as generally the genre doesn't always do it for me, but here the performances really bring a well written script to live. It doesn't quite know what to do with itself towards the end and risks it's integrity a bit but mostly it is very good and worth seeing.
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