7.4/10
3,981
64 user 12 critic

Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

R | | Drama | 15 December 1996 (USA)
A mother and daughter find their lives adversely affected when a new man enters the picture. Will their family ever be what they expect?

Director:

Anjelica Huston

Writers:

Dorothy Allison (book), Anne Meredith (teleplay)
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Anney
Ron Eldard ... Glen Waddell
Glenne Headly ... Ruth
Lyle Lovett ... Wade
Jena Malone ... Bone
Dermot Mulroney ... Lyle Parsons
Christina Ricci ... Dee Dee
Michael Rooker ... Earle
Diana Scarwid ... Raylene
Susan Traylor ... Alma
Grace Zabriskie ... Granny
Richard Todd Sullivan Richard Todd Sullivan ... Travis
Pat Hingle ... Mr. Waddell
Lindley Mayer Lindley Mayer ... Reese
Jamison Stewart Jamison Stewart ... Grey
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Storyline

Difficult tale of a poor, struggling South Carolina mother and daughter who each face painful choices with resolve and pride. Tired Anney and her daughter Bone grow both closer and farther apart as Anney sees Glen as her last chance despite his mistreatment of Bone. Written by Lew Jacobs <titus@idirect.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong depiction of sexual and violent abuse, including a rape scene involving a young girl | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anjelica Huston described Jena Malone's audition as "seamless" and has said that casting her for the part of Bone was extremely easy. According to Huston, Malone was the "third child to walk through [her] door" and she immediately knew Malone was it. See more »

Goofs

(00:12:57) Dermot Mulroney's character (Lyle Parsons) is driving along a road past a modern looking house with a very modern looking red truck parked in the driveway. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: "People pay for what they do, and still more for what they allow themselves to become. And they pay for it simply; by the lives they lead." James Baldwin.
See more »

Soundtracks

Time Changes Everything
Written by Tommy Duncan
Performed by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
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User Reviews

 
A daring, brilliant masterpiece
26 June 2003 | by MovieLuvaMattSee all my reviews

I just watched this movie in my Advanced Developmental Psychology class, and I was blown away by it. Naturally, the professor warned us that the film contained some very graphic scenes, as it certainly did. There were moments where I absolutely could not look up at the screen. The film is wonderfully directed (by Anjelica Huston) and acted. Jennifer Jason Leigh gives one of the best performances of her career. She's one of those actresses who has talent and I have nothing against her, but rarely do I find myself raving about her performances. Here, she's given a genuinely challenging role, as she has to be both disturbed by her new husband's abuse towards her daughter, yet at the same time deeply in love with him. My class is predominantly female, so most of the girls were groaning and yelling out things like "You're stupid!" when she kept deciding to get back with the creep. But it's easy to say that while you're sitting on your butt looking at a TV screen. Tons of women get into relationships with abusive husbands, and guys who treat them like crap, and how many of them actually get out of those relationships? Love is a strange, strange thing. There's no way to explain it. But I didn't feel it was in any way inaccurate for Leigh's character to keep wanting to get back with Ron Eldard.

I know Eldard from his role on the cancelled sitcom "Men Behaving Badly" and his supporting roles in films like "Sleepers" and "The Last Supper." Prior to this movie, I would've never envisioned him in this sort of role, as I didn't really think of him as a daring, intense actor. I would envision an actor like Ray Liotta or James Woods in this sort of role. But I think Eldard's apparent naivete really gives dimension to this role. He doesn't in any way appear like someone who would act abusive towards anyone, as it usually turns out in real life. He also plays the character with a certain charm, which gives us some insight into why Leigh decided to stay with him. Of course, he never gets a handle on the Carolina accent (at times even sounding like an Englishman, as he struggles so hard), but as I got more and more into the film, I barely paid attention to the flaws in his accent. After watching this film, I will definitely look at Eldard much differently, as much more than the fun-loving buddy of Rob Schneider on "Men Behaving Badly" (a show I used to watch pretty frequently).

The cast is also composed of fine character actors, like Glenne Headley and Michael Rooker--who's absolutely terrific as Leigh's short-fused brother. Of course, that isn't an unusual role for him, but he plays it very well and packs a great dramatic punch in this performance especially. Jena Malone shows why she grew up to star in big films like "Stepmom" and "For Love of the Game." Even at this age, she is fully convincing as a tortured young girl. I just kept on wondering what the director gave her as motivation for her different emotions, since I'm guessing they couldn't outwardly address the issues or rape and abuse to a girl of her age.

The film contains some of the most disturbing scenes in American cinema (I stress the word "American," because I've seen more graphic rape scenes in foreign films like "The Bandit Queen" and "Pixote"), so even those with stomachs of steel should beware. But how many films you watch really get you talking and thinking, and send you an emotional journey--without using cheap shots? I don't have A.D.D. or anything, but rarely do I get so lost in a film that my attention never drifts and I never take time to look at my watch. This is one of those rare powerful, touching films that I will never forget!

My score: 9 (out of 10)


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bastard Out of Carolina See more »

Filming Locations:

Wilmington, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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