Several residents of a small Southern city whose lives are changed by the arrival of a stranger with a controversial plan to save their decaying hometown. In the midst of today's ...
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Kristin Scott Thomas,
39-year-old April Epner's childish husband and school teacher colleague Benjamin/Ben leaves her, but with her biological clock ticking ever more loudly. Her dying bossy adoptive mother is ... See full summary »
Several residents of a small Southern city whose lives are changed by the arrival of a stranger with a controversial plan to save their decaying hometown. In the midst of today's challenging times, each of the colorful citizens of this close-knit North Carolina community, will search for ways to reinvent themselves, their relationships and the very heart of their neighborhood. Written by
Ellen Burstyn's character, "Georgiana Carr," bears the last name of an actual Durham, N.C., family that was prominent in the tobacco business. The large portrait in her house, showing a uniformed man with a big white mustache, is a picture of Julian Shakespeare Carr (1845-1924), one of Durham's earliest tobacco magnates, who was involved in a variety of other business enterprises and was a highly regarded philanthropist. The portrait normally resides in the North Carolina Collection of the Durham County Public Library. See more »
While Mary and her mother are talking in her bedroom, her mother's hair changes position - alternately behind and in front of her ear. See more »
This city like many in America, has come to a rough moment in its history. A city after all is just a collection of houses and buildings, hopes and dreams that depend on the fortune and determination and fate of its residents. The future, uncertain at best can be fearful or full of promise. It's all in how you see it..."
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I was waiting for some kind of clever liberal message, as I do with almost everything I watch these days. I didn't really detect one. It's about an Operations Manager for a Hazardous Waste disposal company.
I don't know why the guy would have to travel all the way to Durham, NC for a warehouse and ultimately a processing center, but I guess there is only so much room in his home state of Texas. You probably know the story. This guy sets up these waste disposal centers in cities that could use the work and the revenue. He encounters some locals who then encounter each other.
As other reviewers have pointed out, Durham is not a small dying city. It has a couple hundred thousand people and is part of a thriving region. But this picture could have been set at an earlier time. There are no computers or smart phones, so maybe it is supposed to be earlier than 2010, although there is no indication of that.
Anyways, it is not about any of this. It's about hope, transition, renewal, and fear. Most importantly, it's about ordinary people. Having said that, these actors did an excellent job with the material. I too don't understand why they need to give the work to two Brits, but they did well.
As other reviewers have mentioned, you keep waiting for the Colin Firth character to turn into a slime, but he doesn't. He is genuine. The best part is when the young woman calls her ex-boyfriend a "loser" for staying in town and accepting a potentially humble life. You could see that a part of her meant it, and that he was deeply hurt, but also that she didn't really want to hurt anyone, and didn't fully believe what she said.
I loved the way they portrayed the ex high school sweethearts. Faced with the girl leaving town, the guy tells her straight out that he loves her and always has. That's what you have to do. Stake your claim. She reciprocated.
Ellen Burstyn could have easily relied on clichés, but she didn't. Her facial expressions and reactions set her performance apart from that. I don't get the ending. I won't give it away, but it seems like the guy is admitting that he was never comfortable doing what he does to begin with. He fooled me.
What a bizarre concept for a movie. That's why I like it. Because there is potential intrigue in the most mundane of circumstances. The main character mentions that a city's fate is dependent on how its' residents look at it. The same thing goes for a movie plot. You can turn a seemingly boring circumstance into something compelling with good writing, settings, and performances. They did that adequately here.
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