Leaving Normal (1992)

EDWARD ZWICK

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1992.  , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by Ralf D. Bode.  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Patricia Norris.  Film Editing by .  

I suppose coming out only a year after Thelma and Louise made it impossible to think of this charming film as anything but a ripoff, but it does have its own vibe. Meg Tilly plays a numerously married, numerously divorced mail-order bride with an optimistic disposition who flees her latest abusive marriage in search of something better. She runs into a savvy, wisecracking waitress (Christine Lahti) who is on her way to Alaska to claim a house that was left to her in a will. Tilly decides to join her on her trip, and the journey these two undertake is heartfelt, enjoyable and full of delicious surprises. The characters, leading and supporting, are all drawn with honesty and compassion, while the beautiful scenery (especially when they get to wondrous Alaska) provides a haunting backdrop. Lahti and Tilly both shine in their roles.

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