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I spend way too much time at the theaters.
I'm a slave to the Hollywood Visionaries.  God help me.

TUMBLEWEEDS

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 human heart.
Tumbleweeds 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?

Tumbleweeds 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 life.

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.

 

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