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Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012)

 -  Drama  -  20 August 2013 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,813 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 26 user | 59 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

Alabama; 1969: The death of a clan's estranged wife and mother brings together two very different families. Do the scars of the past hide differences that will tear them apart, or expose truths that could lead to unexpected collisions?

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jim Caldwell
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Kingsley Bedford
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Skip Caldwell
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Jimbo Caldwell
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Phillip Bedford
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Camilla Bedford
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Alan Caldwell
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Vicky Caldwell
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Mickey Caldwell
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Neal Baron
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Dorothy Lambert
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April Baron
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Aurumn Baron
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Storyline

A young man in the 1940s raises a family in Alabama after his wife leaves him for an Englishman and moves to England. When the wife dies, she leaves a request to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the man hasn't seen her in nearly 30 years. The two families - her original family she abandoned and her English family - meet and make an attempt to adjust to each other, with uneven results. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content, nudity, drug use and some bloody images | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jayne Mansfield kocsija  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,320 (USA) (13 September 2013)

Gross:

$14,376 (USA) (20 September 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tippi Hedren's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor; however, the producers thanked her in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Jim Caldwell: You reckon how many people would live to ripe old age if we didn't go anywhere, 'cause transportation kills a lot of people. Yeah. What if the last thought in the world was, "God damn it, here comes a car across the center lane about to kill me, 'cause I had to get out at 10:00 at night for a roll of toilet paper. Well, I wish I would have just wiped my ass with a sweetgum leaf.
See more »

Soundtracks

Jayne Mansfield's Car multiple song score
Written by Brad Davis, J.D. Andrew and Billy Bob Thornton
Performed by The Boxmasters
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User Reviews

 
Fathers, Sons, War, Death
16 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was a bit shocked at how much negative press Billy Bob Thornton's latest effort has received in the mainstream critical media. It's been called racist, homophobic, grating, and stereotypically one-note. Perhaps these reviewers couldn't take the time to appreciate the delicate patina glazed onto the top of this heavy Southern Gothic brew, not only by some stellar star turns, but from Thornton and Tom Epperson's sly, knowing script that bravely refuses to villainize any of the array of characters, no matter how crass or pig-headed their behavior first appears.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of Thornton when he first appeared with the break-out "Sling Blade," even though the short it was culled from was anything but slight. I thought he'd be one of these rural "artistes" who falls back on sentimentality and clichéd characters when he didn't have much to say. Jayne Mansfield's Car, however, proves that glib assessment was dead, dead wrong.

The strongest aspect of this film is it's script, which does what every extraordinary movie does well: drops you into another place and time that---at first glance, anyway---you'd ordinarily shrug your shoulders and walk away from, then gives you every reason you shouldn't: it's populated with people who are confused, conflicted, and multi-faceted to the point where they don't seem to recognize each other any more, even after living in the same house for decades.

The casting is impeccable and Thornton has an incredibly light-touch with all of them. Robert Duvall does what he does best: providing the anchoring figure of Jim Senior with an authority and gravitas that he can express with a lift of an eyebrow. His three sons are wrought over a nice spectrum of angst: Thornton's Skip, the ne'er do well middle son who did everything right but was always a bit too "off" to be dad's shining star. That honor went to Jimbo (Jim Jr., a ferocious Robert Patrick) who played closer to the mold but never saw combat as Skip and Carroll (Kevin Bacon) did, thus considering himself a failure. Skip and Carroll live with scars and resentments from their own tours of duty in WWII and Vietnam, respectively and their anti-war sentiments continue to draw them further from Duvall, in every sense of the word.

Even though the crux of the drama revolves around the return of Duvall's wayward recently deceased wife (Tippi Hedren, a pretty darn good corpse), who divorced him for Englishmen John Hurt 15 years before, the canvas of this film is really about the tortured relations between fathers and sons, and the cost of war and death and what it "means to be a man." The War angle is particularly intriguing in that it plays out in the heart of Alabama in the late-sixties, where the malingering odor of Vietnam melts into the residues of a century of warfare, the star of which is the ghost of the Civil War.

The culture-clash aspect is amusing and well-played, but not even remotely why you should see the movie. The script ensures you know the characters so well, that all that formulaic hicks-meet-Brits stuff quickly goes by the wayside.

Thornton and Epperson's script gives each character a suitable bravura moment and most hit them out of the park, in particular Thornton, in a touching monologue delivered to Frances O'Connor in the forest and Bacon, whose hippie malcontent faces off with Duvall with quiet dignity and aplomb.

This is not a film to hang on for forced drama, but it's one you'll have a difficult time turning away from and an even harder time leaving, from the place where you so unceremoniously were dropped.


16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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