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Tumbleweeds

Director:Gavin O'Connor
Writers:Gavin O'Connor and Angela Shelton
Fine Line Features; PG-13; 100 minutes
Release:11/99
Cast:Janet McTeer, Kimberly Brown, Gavin O'Connor

Think of Tumbleweeds as Anywhere but Here with teeth. The basic storyline is identical: a vivacious, independent mom (Janet McTeer) uproots her precocious daughter (Kimberly Brown) to restart in California, where mom is doomed to repeat her history. But Tumbleweeds is sharp and fresh. Eschewing sermonizing, it presents mother Mary Jo as she is: impulsive, lovable, disastrous, and possessed of a strong maternal bond with her daughter. As men come and go in her life, director Gavin O'Connor keeps the convincingly portrayed mother-daughter relationship at the movie's center. Their rapport seems unselfconscious, imbued with the natural ease that sets it apart from other movies dealing with similar subject matter. Their ability to play a slightly dysfunctional but loving family unit with such believability makes Tumbleweeds a success.


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