Stella (1990) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Stella is determined, courageous, vulgar, unfashionable...and all her daughter has. Through the trials of teenagehood, to the problems of adulthood, Stella will do anything for Jenny...ending in an selfless, unforgettable sacrifice.

  • A strong and eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.

    Will S


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Stella (Bette Midler) is a feisty, single, good time gal working in a bar when she meets and falls for the suave charms of the young Dr Steve Dallas (Stephen Collins). Although from opposite ends of the social spectrum they start an affair resulting in Stella becoming pregnant. After he proposes half heartedly she rejects him and embarks upon raising their child Jenny as a single mother, but is always helped and encouraged by her stalwart friend, a local good natured barfly, Ed Munn (John Goodman). Stella is fiercely independent and proud and is determined to do well by this child and take on whatever jobs she must to raise her daughter properly. When Jenny is 4 years old her father suddenly re appears on the scene and is determined to get to know his daughter. At first reluctant to allow this, Stella is persuaded to allow contact and a happy bond develops between the father and daughter. As Jenny (Trini Alvarado) grows up she becomes torn between her father's rich and well connected background and her loyalty and love for her mother who is poor and crass and vulgar but devoted to her daughter. She also despises the perceived relationship she sees developing between Stella and Ed Munn who is now a broken alcoholic. Jenny eventually meets and falls for a boy from her father's 'world' and Stella realizes that now the disparities in her own and and Jenny's father's backgrounds might jeopardize her daughters future happiness. So she makes a heart rending decision played out in the last 10 minutes of the film to ensure that this is not going to happen.

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