Directed By: Jim Abrahms
Written By: Karen Leigh Hopkins Cinematography: Paul Elliott
Editor: Bruce Green
Cast: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins, Frances Fisher, Dinah Manoff, Thomas Wilson Brown, Graham Beckel, Stephen Tobolowsky, Robin Thomas, Beth Grant, Heidi Swedberg, Carla Gugino, Ava Fabian
Although Roxy left town more than fifteen years ago, her memory has never faded. Her expected return starts to impact a number of lives, including that of her former partner Denton Webb. But it is Dinky, the adopted daughter of the Bossettis and ignored by most of her classmates as a strange loner, who may be most changed. She is convinced she is Roxie’s secret child.
I saw this movie in a sneak preview when I was around 12 years old. I was very excited to watch it. As at the time I was still nursing a heavy cinematic crush on Winona Ryder after the 1, 2 punch of HEATHERS and BEETLEJUICE. She was my type of lady.
Unfortunately at the time while I thought the movie was ok on the end i found it disappointing, so disappointing I avoided it over the years and considered it a minor failure. She came back later that year with the far better (to me at least) MERMAIDS. starring with Cher and a young Christina Ricci.
I decided to watch this film once again recently and while it’s still not a favorite. It is more understandable to me now more so then when I was younger. I seemed to miss quite a few things.
Like the lesbian relationship between two characters. That watching it now seems brave for that kind of material at the time. It also explains why the character of Dinah Manoff is so obsessed with Roxy Carmichael’s return. At first thought it was a rivalry and jealousy thing. Now realize it went much deeper than that.
While it follows a similar tread of Jeff Daniels character. His is more understandable as they had a relationship and Carmichael’s relationship with Manoff’s character seems more like a friendship that had a fling. Though both are felt deep and fell hard by this woman and hurt by her leaving.
At least Daniels character seems to try to get over her by getting married and having children but can’t seem to let her go. So her return makes him kind of obsessed and slowly eats at his wife. Who knows she can never be number one in his heart.
The film’s clear star is Winona Ryder as even as an ensemble she is in the middle of it all and the film is built around her upcoming stardom
The movie breaks down more into a small town ensemble film. Where we meet many characters and see how their intermix and mingle in this town. As the big event is the return of hometown hero Roxy Carmichael.
The feelings and situations this creates that ultimately by the end comes to a head but also ends up almost much ado about nothing.
While Ryder’s character is one of many she makes the impression the most as she is an outsider in this town and looking to escape. As she Is adopted she latches onto the legend that Roxy Carmichael has a daughter she gave up for adoption. That she must be her as she is so different from everyone in the town. Even as a boy in town is falling for her but is embarrassed by his attraction because of what his friends might think. Add to it her adoptive parents where only the father seems to get along and care about her. Also the only friend the girl seems to have is a teacher who tries to defend her against bullying. Whereas other teachers turn a blind eye.
Another aspect I never realized was that all of Roxy Carmichael’s songs are sung by Singer/Songwriter Melissa Ethridge who was a rising singer-songwriter at the time and whose music i didn’t notice or become a big fan of until she did the soundtrack for the Movie WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU.
Directed By Jim Abrahms who usually directs spoofs and occasionally directs dramas. He gives the film heart and a few laughable scenes.
This film feels more like a novel brought to life. That is entertaining enough even if it Never feels quite like it comes alive. Not does there seem to be a point to it all. Just a slice of life. That tries to be filling but comes off sweeter than anything.