Directed by Gavin O'Connor
Screenplay by Gavin O'Connor and Angela Shelton,
based on Shelton's book
Starring Janet McTeer, Kimberly J. Brown,
Gavin O'Connor, Jay O. Sanders,
My advice: A must see, first rate movie
Rating: out of
William Shakespeare wrote to the beat of the
speaks to it.
In the introduction of this superior film, we meet a mother,
Mary Jo Walker (Janet McTeer), and her preteen daughter, Ava (Kimberly J. Brown) who are hastily packing for another
break and run from a relationship that has gone, as many a relationship before it, horribly awry.
With a deft, cinematic cut to Ava's mice scurrying madly within their exercise wheel, it's immediately apparent
that this movie will speak volumes. After all, aren't we all on that same wheel, that continuous circle with no
apparent end? It takes a truly dynamic and courageous person to break free from the HabitTrail of life and make
it's very existence their own. These are the very kind of people you will find in Tumbleweeds.
It's been an uneasy life for Mary Jo. Married four times and divorced the same, she has that magical but oft doomed
quality that attracts every emotionally crippled man in the room. Although possessing a fiery will too strong to
measure, Mary Jo's desire to please and comply is heart wrenching to behold. She really just wants what all of
us are looking for. Love. Lesson number one, Mary Jo - if you look for it, it won't be found. Love is something
that finds us when it's ready. You'll never even spot it coming.
Together, they agree to stay in the small town of Starlight Beach, California to make a fresh start at life. Mary
Jo finds a job at a security company, where she settles in with coworkers Laurie Pendleton (Laurel Holliman) and
the obligatory nice guy who will always finish last, Dan (Jay O. Sanders). Ava begins school and forges her own
new relationships. Not willing to run any longer, Ava is clearly looking to settle down and has every intention
of doing so. Whether Mary Jo likes it, or not.
In the blink of an eye, artfully set to winking by a busted radiator hose and a hazardous meeting in a smoky bar,
Mary Jo finds herself settling for less, once again, with Jack (O'Connor). Not really a bad sort, Jack tries to
make it work, but finding a place in this standing room only relationship is a difficult chore. With both of the
adult parties in this triangle set firmly in their vastly different ways, it's apparent that there is no room to
give and soon it looks as if Ava must pack up her bags and make yet another break. Will she throw away another
fine possibility at life, or will she finally stand her ground, forcing her mother to face her problems and stop
the running, once and for all?
brings to us a mother daughter relationship that is emotionally real, finely tuned and an immeasurable joy to behold.
Richly cradled by an extraordinary supporting cast, this is without a doubt the finest movie I have seen so far
this year. O'Connor and Shelton bring a miracle firmly to life and pack it full of supporting characters who are
as equally enjoyable to watch as the starring cast who carry this vehicle to unsurpassed heights. Each of these
people has their proper place, their proper time and their proper equations to add to this enjoyable lesson of
Already nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her fine turn as Mary Jo, it's clear to me that McTeer
might be ready to add a Golden Boy to her awards mantle. In fact, I predict you'll see many a mention of this phenomenal
work as awards time approaches. Kimberly J. Brown is luminescent as Ava and Jay O. Sanders, even with his limited
time on screen, has you loving his Dan so easily that you'll be wishing with all your heart for him to find the
that happiness he so truly deserves.
Appealing easily to any age group, I highly recommend you pack up your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your
friends and see this marvelous work of cinematic art. It will touch you at the very heart of your soul and leave
you happily in love with the folks in Tumbleweeds.
In my humble opinion, I say go take this tumble. It's so very worth it.