Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Driving Home

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when everybody goes home to see the familiy if they can. I wanted to recommend Sunday Dinner For a Soldier as a good movie to watch on Thanksgiving, but sadly, it's not available on DVD or even VHS, which is a great shame.

There are a lot of movies about journeys of discovery -- and I've recently recommended the great Harry and Tonto as such a movie. It's a universal theme, and foreign movies like Ingemar Bergman's Wild Strawberries or the Japanese classic Tokyo Story fit the genre as well.

Travelling home, however, is a bit less common. A very interesting, and understated, little movie on the subject is The Trip to Bountiful. Geraldine Page stars as an elderly woman who is now living in a small apartment in Houston, Texas, with her son and his wife. It's a fairly pitiful existence, and the one thing she'd still like to do in her final days is to visit an old friend who lives in the tiny town of Bountiful, where she grew up. Her daughter-in-law rules the roost, however, and has absolutely no desire to let the poor old woman travel back to Bountiful. However, Page is a crafty old woman, and one day when her daughter-in-law is off at the drug store gossiping with friends, she gets up and runs away, to go to the bus station and take the bus back to Bountiful.

Of course, the trip isn't so easy. Everybody except for her one friend has abandoned the town of Bountiful, to the extent that the railroad and buses don't go there anymore. And, she has to stay one step ahead of her son and daughter-in-law, who have discovered she's missing, and start searching for her. Page, in addition to being crafty, is also charming and determined, and she plans to let nothing stop her from getting to Bountiful....

The whole movie revolves around Geraldine Page, who is wonderful in this movie. She won the Best Actress Oscar, deservedly so. The rest of the cast are mere supporting props, even though they all do a good job with their parts. John Heard plays her son, and Carlin Glynn the daughter-in-law. However, the one to watch for is Rebecca De Mornay, early in her career. She plays the wife of an Army man who's been shipped abroad, and she's on the way back to live with her family while her husband serves overseas. De Mornay gets the seat next to Page on the bus, and shares her story with Page, forming a fast friendship.

The Trip to Bountiful is available on DVD.

No comments: