THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2023
Along with Aftersun: Long ago and far away, she took The Trip to Bountiful.
We refer to Geraldine Fitzgerald, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1986 for her role in the film of that name.
We've seen the film within maybe the past dozen years. We don't think we loved the film, but it makes for a very good synopsis, albeit one we've edited:
Set in the post-World War II 1940s, it tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return to her home, the small, rural, agriculture-based town of Bountiful near the Texas Gulf coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, where she grew up. Her son and daughter-in-law both know that the town has long since disappeared, due to the Depression.
Mrs. Watts sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains do not go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a woman traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives.
The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The town is deserted and the few remaining structures are derelict. Mrs. Watts learns that the last occupant of the town, and the woman with whom she had hoped to live, has recently died. She is moved to tears as she surveys her father's land and the remains of the family home.
Having accepted the reality of the current condition of Bountiful, and knowing that she has reached her goal of returning there before dying, she is ready to return to Houston when her son and daughter-in-law arrive to drive her back. Having confronted their common history in Bountiful, the three commit to live more peacefully together. They begin their drive back to Houston.
For whatever reason, the title of that film had been in our heads of late. This very week, we've been trying to plot a journey for our floundering nation and tribe—a trip on The Road to Helpful.
Can we possibly come to terms with the various ways our own blue tribe may tend to behave in ways which undermine our aspirations and goals? Fitzgerald accomplished the trip to Bountiful. Can our hapless, floundering tribe ever get on the road to helpful?
We'll also mention the journey portrayed in Aftersun, a film we watched last weekend. It's the first feature film for Charlotte Wells, who seems to be on the road to deeply, profoundly insightful.
Paul Mescal won a Best Actor nomination for his role in the film. In our view, 11-year-old Frankie Corio deserved a nomination too. Where in the name of all the spirits do they ever find these kids?
(In her case, right there in Scotland.)
"Best film of the year," said Sight & Sound. Best film from all over the world!