Los Angeles Times - 05/30/2008
"[T]here is a spacious quality to BONNEVILLE....Its notable cast is a pleasure to behold."
Writer-director Christopher N Rowley makes a strong directorial debut with BONNEVILLE, a different kind of road movie. After her adventurer husband, Joe, suddenly dies while they are in Borneo, a lonely and scared Arvilla Holden (Jessica Lange) returns home to Pocatello, Idaho, where her husband's daughter from a previous marriage, the snooty Francine Holden Packard (Christine Baranski), is waiting to bring her father's body back to Santa Barbara, California, and bury him next to her mother. But Arvilla has already had him cremated, so Francine makes a deal with her: If Arvilla will bring her husband's ashes to Santa Barbara in time for the funeral service, she will allow Arvilla to keep the house. However, Arvilla had promised Joe before he died that she would scatter his ashes to the wind. So Arvilla and her two best friends, the loud and boisterous Margene Cunningham (Kathy Bates) and the prim and proper Carol Brimm (Joan Allen), set off in Joe's 1966 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, ostensibly to get to the airport to fly to Santa Barbara, but Arvilla has something else on her mind, leading to a funny and poignant road trip across the beautiful American West as the three mature women learn yet more about life, love, and death. Two-time Oscar winner Lange, Oscar winner Bates, and Oscar nominee Allen are terrific as the three friends, with fine support from Tom Skerritt as cool trucker Emmett L. Johnson and Victor Rasuk as a young hitchhiker named Bo who seemingly appears out of nowhere. The locations, beautifully shot by cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball, include the Bonneville Salt Flats, Bryce Canyon National Park, Las Vegas, and lots of open road. Mixing in elements of such road-trip films as THELMA & LOUISE, ABOUT SCHMIDT, and LAST ORDERS, and with a country folk soundtrack that features songs by Donovan, Amos Lee, Pete Droge, and Nik Kershaw, BONNEVILLE is a sweet, sincere ride.
Description by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
Faced with the decision of a lifetime, Arvilla Holden (Jessica Lange) hijacks her two best friends (Kathy Bates, Joan Allen) and sets off in a vintage '66 Bonneville convertible across the great American West to deliver her husband's ashes to her step-daughter. What begins as a simple trip, will end up becoming a chance to rediscover themselves, their friendship, the importance of promises - and of living life to the fullest.
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