12 year old Lily Strickland has lost her father, a sailor, to the sea. She and her mother go to live with her grandparents. Lily and her family have little closure on the death of her father since he was never found, thus Lily sets out alone on a trek to the ocean to find the closure that she needs to heal her loss. Set in 1965 Alabama, during the Civil Rights marches. Written by
I have to give this 3 stars only because it's a first time effort by an unknown director. The story had some of the same bones as "Bastard Out of Carolina" and the upcoming "Secret Life of Bees" with some "Fried Green Tomatoes" atmospheric shots. The premise of the story, set in 1965 civil rights era Alabama, is an interesting one, about a young girl with a loving family (grandparents and a well-meaning mother) dealing with loss, abuse, and heartache.
The main character, Lily, was played by the director's daughter of the same name. While likable, it was fairly obvious she had no acting skills or training of any sort, and it was not the best idea to put her in the starring role of a movie, especially with polished actors like Dianne Ladd and Graham Greene among others.
This film also reduced some characters to cartoon-like sensibilities, as well as absurd subplots (like wild panthers roaming the Alabama woods???). There's even a scene where young Lily smears shoe polish all over her face to disguise herself as a black child. I had to quit watching after that.
All in all, this movie was pretty awful. It only has some small shining moments in the performances of its veteran actors. This movie could have been much better with a well written script, a more experienced child lead actor and without the beyond ridiculous sub-plots.
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