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Movie Review: Tumbleweeds

Story: This is not a big story and yet I didn't want it to end. It is a charmer! Based on screenwriter Angela Shelton's memoirs it revolves around Mary Jo Walker, a 40ish, southern, larger than life, married four times woman who has bravado and insecurities that are a treat to watch. We first meet her departing from yet another bad choice relationship, with her 12 year old daughter in tow heading across country to start up again, this time in San Diego County. It is a pleasure to watch the mother daughter relationship grow and evolve. The time frame seems to be the present but there is a sweetness to the film that still seems nostalgic. This could have easily had a higher sappy factor or become monotonous in its message, but thankfully it did not.

Acting: Janet McTeer (English stage star - was in last year's production of The Doll House on Broadway) is simply spectacular in her first screen appearance. She is larger than everyone else on the screen but generously shares the spotlight. I hear Oscar nomination for this debut performance. Kimberly T. Brown as 12 year old daughter Ava in the child performance of the year (forget about that three name kid from Sixth Sense). She is a natural and looks like what a 12 year old should look like. Gavin O'Connor (who co-wrote and also directed the film) is terrific and understated as the Mr. Right Now,boyfriend, Jake. Several highly recognizable character actors such as Michael J. Pollard, Lois Smith and Jay O. Sanders add to this small stellar cast.

Pets: A goldfish and some mice

Visual Art: None

Sappy Factor: 5

Length: A perfect 100 minutes