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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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
It's 1969 Morrison, Alabama. The Caldwell clan has 3 brothers Skip (Billy Bob Thornton), Carroll (Kevin Bacon), Jimbo (Robert Patrick), sister Donna (Katherine LaNasa), and patriarch Jim (Robert Duvall). The men are all veterans of various wars. When Jim's ex-wife and mother to the 'kids' die, her present husband Kingsley Bedford (John Hurt) and the Bedford family Phillip Bedford (Ray Stevenson), Camilla Bedford (Frances O'Connor) comes over from London to bury her back home in Alabama. The two families try to deal with the estranged relationships against a backdrop of volatile outside world of Vietnam and inner worlds. Jim is fascinated with car crashes. When a nearby town has a side show displaying Jayne Mansfield's car that she died in, Jim Caldwell takes Kingsley Bedford along for a look.
This movie is jam packed with great actors but they keep getting into each other's way. Writer/director Billy Bob Thornton lets this assemble of talents go off on their own and loses any structure or narrative. There is a lack of clarity. It needs to tell us clearly that the kids aren't actually related early and often. There is also a plodding pace to it all. They are moseying along and every once in awhile, there is an amazing scene between some of these great actors. The movie is just too uneven with the splintered groups garnering different levels of interest.
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