What would you do if someone you loved sat down with you one night and calmly told you that they were going to end their life before morning? This is Thelma Cates' dilemma. Her daughter, ... See full summary »
Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with ... See full summary »
Anna Maria Monticelli,
It's 1944 in the small town of Gregory, Texas. Divorcée Nita Longley has been brought into the town by the telephone company to work as its switchboard operator, a job which requires her to... See full summary »
It's the mid 1970s. Moving back home with her mother Virginia in Tennessee, Marie Ragghianti was able to leave an abusive marriage to eke out a better life for herself and her three young children - the youngest, Ricky, for who she would have to deal with his major health issues - by waiting tables, all the while being able to complete the degree requirements at Vanderbilt to obtain a B.A. in English and Psychology. She is unapologetic in asking a college acquaintance, Eddie Sisk, for a job, he who has just been appointed legal counsel for just elected Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton. In what he considers a win-win situation, Eddie offers Marie a job as the Extradition Officer for the state, a job offer which she accepts. From there, Marie quickly moves up the chain of command, first to become the liaison to the Governor via Eddie on Parole Board recommendations - the role which is meant to be a two way street, where there is an understood quid pro quo in recommendations from the Board...Written by
There are more than a few movies about women battling and (hopefully) beating the system, so the field was already getting pretty crowded by 1985, when this film hit the cinemas. But it stands up there with the best of them; the greater surprise is that "Marie" is so less well known than, for instance, "Erin Brockovich" or "Norma Ray". The people involved in making this production are all out of the top drawer: Sissy Spacek in the lead role, supported by Jeff Daniels, Keith Szarabajka, Fred Thompson and Morgan Freeman (in a comparatively small part); director Roger Donaldson; cameraman Sam Mendes; and screenwriter John Briley. The script is tightly written, with a good pattern of sequences that moves the action through suspense (or, more precisely, a sense of menace), anxious domestic incidents, and lighter casual moments: the story looks and feels authentic. Spacek is terrific in the lead role of a "not perfect" person who just won't let herself be pushed aside when her integrity gets in the way of her political masters. But no element of the production is weak: the final court drama is beautifully played (how much better are these sequences when they rely on real transcripts), and so is the dynamic within the family of the woman on a mission. Highly recommended.
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