You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.
It wouldn’t be much of a film without Geraldine Page in it. The supporting actors deliver boring, uninspired performances, the screenplay loses its track towards the ending, so it’s up to Geraldine to pick up the pieces. Should only be recommended as a study of master class performance.
Geraldine plays Carrie Watts, a widow living with her son and a very dislikeable daughter-in-law in a small apartment in Houston. She has a very cheerful, lively personality and all she dreams of is to escape that place and go back to her home town of Bountiful, to her house that she hasn’t seen in 20 years. She manages to get away and sets on a trip that will bring back a lot of memories from the past. It’s a very dramatic role, not so much in the actual writing, but in the opportunity it gives Geraldine to bring her A-game.
When I first saw it a couple of days ago, I was a bit frustrated with the film and especially the story. First, to get it out of the way, I think it’s an EXCELLENT performance. But it annoyed me that the screenplay didn’t give us the ending that we, and Geraldine, deserved. The performance and the story build a lot towards her getting to Bountiful, but those last 30 minutes are probably the most ignorable scenes Geraldine has to do. Maybe she knew that, that’s why she prepared the big punches from the first half of the film.
Words cannot describe the acting experience that can be found in this performance. I’ve noticed it even more the second time I saw it. Geraldine takes an old lady character and completely brings it to life, creating such a relatable likeable person that I rooted for the whole film. Difficult dialogue never stops her, and the overreacting, worrying, maternal feeling, resignation – all these are beautifully shown in the performance. When the camera is on her face with her delivering some short monologue, that’s very close to acting perfection.
Every gesture is perfectly calculated but so well delivered it comes off as the most natural thing, so recognizable, so fit for this character. Geraldine makes it become not just a film about a trip, but a film in which you can easily tell the backstory of the character, the rich emotional life this woman has lived, the drama of getting old and losing those around you. I can write so much about it, but if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.
Her best acting moment is in the bus scenes and a particular one is truly heartbreaking. If you’ve seen it, you might remember her confessing to the young woman that she never loved her husband. The pain of the character while remembering the emotional suffering is so brilliantly played it’s definitely hard to forget.
What disappoints me the most about the film is that it doesn’t give her the possibility to deliver an ever more sensational ending, as I knew she had it in her to blow us away with those scenes in the house. Had the last 30 minutes of the film focused entirely on her character and her emotions, we would’ve witnessed something of Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata calibre. Even so, she manages to give so much with not enough support and it’s one of the best wins this category’s ever had.
for sure. How difficult it will be for me to pick a winner for 1985, as I rarely get this excited (notice I wrote more that usual, and I had to hold back). Loved it.