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Earthly Possessions (1999)

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A bored wife, who is planning to run away from her minister husband, is taken hostage in a bank robbery. However, she sees the thrill in being involved in the chase and becomes an ... See full summary »



(book), (teleplay)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Emory
Phoebe Lapine ...
Cheerleader #1
Anna Rose Menken ...
Cheerleader #2 (as Anna Manken)
Marge Redmond ...
Old Woman In Bank
Danielle Ferland ...
Baby Whitehead
Jake Simms, Jr.
Marialisa Costanzo ...
Screaming Woman
Bank Guard
Brenda Currin ...
Street Witness
Julyana Soelistyo ...
Sour Waitress
Tak Wah Eng ...
Heidi Anderson
John Christopher Jones ...
Marvel Hodge


A bored wife, who is planning to run away from her minister husband, is taken hostage in a bank robbery. However, she sees the thrill in being involved in the chase and becomes an accomplice to helping the younger robber escape his pursuers. As things progress, she learns he pulled the robbery to get enough money to help his pregnant girlfriend leave a home for unwed mothers. The two have a brief flirtation, but it is clear the housewife just needs something to enliven her life. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Charlotte wasn't looking to meet Jake. And Jake wasn't looking to take a hostage. Some people should look where they're going.


Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destino fatale  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The film was shot entirely on location in the New York/New Jersey area at the request of star Susan Sarandon due to her well-known and publicized policy of filming projects close to home during the school year in order to be close to her children and not to disrupt their routine. See more »


Jake: You're gonna move over, and you're gonna steer the fuckin' car!
Charlotte: Okay.
See more »


Arranged and Performed by Rick Hardeman
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User Reviews

Chemistry 101
10 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are real sparks here between Sarandon and Dorff and their performances give Earthly Possessions some real emotional weight. I've never been much impressed with Dorff in the past, but playing against Sarandon seems to lift him to a new level as an actor. His physicality serves him well in this role and Jake's hotheaded moments are both funny and slightly threatening (a hard line to walk). Sarandon builds her character so effortlessly that all of Charlotte's personality just magically appears before the viewer. Is there anything she can't do as an actress? The screenplay shows some big changes from Anne Tyler's book, but it does do a good job of capturing the novel's quirky mix of drama and comedy. Many people mention dissatisfaction with the movie's ending and I felt it too. In the novel the ending feels natural and right, but it's as if this screenplay didn't quite take into account the sexual sparks that would be generated between the two leads. Because Sarandon and Dorff have this chemistry together and do such a great job showing the characters challenging each other to be better people, the inclusion of the girlfriend and the "earthly" resolution feel like intruders in a great romantic drama. It left me wishing that instead of an adaptation of Tyler's book (which deals with taking responsibility for choices), the movie was just a continuation of Charlotte and Jake's journey together. In the movie, you just KNOW that their being together is right, even if this isn't the message in the screenplay; that difference leaves the viewer dissatisfied. In a way though, it is more satisfying that the movie doesn't have a pat ending and Charlotte and Jake's relationship is more complicated than it has to be. Movies that challenge our expectations are rare enough these days.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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