Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1991. Grand Highway Productions, Interscope Communications, Touchstone Pictures, Touchwood Pacific Partners 1. Screenplay by Mary Agnes Donoghue, based on the novel Le Grand Chemin by Jean-Loup Hubert. Cinematography by Jerzy Zielinski. Produced by Scott Kroopf, Patrick J. Palmer. Music by David Newman. Production Design by Marcia Hinds, Evelyn Sakash. Costume Design by Linda Donahue. Film Editing by Eva Gardos, Debra McDermott.
Elijah Wood is sent to live with his aunt (Melanie Griffith) and uncle (Don Johnson) for the summer while his parents deal with their impending divorce. He stumbles upon the couple’s personal tragedy of losing a baby some years earlier, and the toll it has taken on their now unhappy marriage. He also discovers a friendship with another little girl (Thora Birch) in the neighbourhood, and through all these relationships, pasts are healed and new bonds are made. This is the sort of story that threatens to be absolute treacle but the experience of it is actually quite lovely and passionate. Griffith shines, and her then-husband Johnson has fantastic chemistry with her in all their scenes, whether tender or violent. Mary Agnes Donohue does a great job as both writer and director in bringing across a naturalistic, easy feel to the film that makes it so enjoyable.