A woman constantly runs from town to town with her 12 year old daughter to escape failed relationships. The film opens with one escape and the shift into a new start in San Diego. There Mom takes up with a controlling trucker and fights with her weirdo boss. Meanwhile, the daughter, used to making the constant shifts, finds a fit at school including getting chosen for a play lead.Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film's upbeat nature may strike some as false, yet the giddy handling in general is persuasive...
British actress Janet McTeer gives a convincing, first-rate performance as a Southern woman and man-lover who can't find a good guy to love. She and her preteen daughter drive from one state to the next, lighting in a motel room somewhere until a local romance blooms--and then high-tailing out of town when it predictably blows up. Soon after arriving in Southern California, McTeer's Mary Jo Walker finds a decent job, begins making friends, and sees her daughter excelling in school for the first time; however, a new relationship with a sexy but volatile trucker may put everything on the rocks. What starts out as a generic road movie--with hints of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" besides--becomes an absorbing, intimate character portrait. McTeer (who resembles Laurie Metcalf) isn't your typical tramp or "lover of life"; she isn't unstable, and she's a good mother, but what she's trying so hard to get (a husband and a real home) doesn't always respond to her in kind. We see Mary Jo trying her damnedest to make her life work, eventually falling into familiar patterns but this time learning from her mistakes. The finale is rose-colored and probably not credible, but the optimistic nature of Gavin O'Connor's screenplay (co-written with Angela Shelton), as well as his perceptive direction, makes the journey a fun, embraceable ride. **1/2 from ****
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