.

Tumbleweeds

Janet McTeer, Kimberly Brown, Jay O. Sanders, Gavin O'Connor, Laurel Holloman

Directed by Gavin O'Connor
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
November 24, 1999

"Luminous", "haunting" and "electrifying" — what puny words to describe Janet McTeer, a British actress with the regal, imposing manner of Vanessa Redgrave and a lusty, rippling laugh that pulls you right into her corner. If you caught McTeer's 1997 Tony-winning performance on Broadway in A Doll's House, you saw an alchemist who could make high drama and rollicking comedy out of eating a macaroon.

Tumbleweeds lets McTeer shine on film. As Mary Jo Walker, a much-married Southern belle who only stays in one place long enough to find a man and dump him when the relationship turns abusive, McTeer is a force of nature. Her twelve-year-old daughter, Ava, beautifully played by Kimberly Brown, is swept away on Mom's manic energy. As the movie opens, they've left West Virginia for California and settled in a beach community near San Diego, where Ava struggles to put down roots while Mom finds a dead-end job and another Mr. Wrong (Gavin O'Connor.

O'Connor, who also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with his ex-wife, Angela Shelton (the story is based on her childhood history), has taken on a tired genre — the parent-child tear-jerker — that runs the gamut from Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore to the current Anywhere but Here. But the quirky humor and blunt honesty of Tumbleweeds — a Sundance hit — pays emotional dividends when Ava stands her ground and Mary Jo develops a relationship with a man (the excellent Jay O. Sanders) that doesn't depend on sex. McTeer and Brown make magic in a film that is wonderfully funny, touching and vital.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com