In some very unlikely casting, British stage actress Janet McTeer becomes Mary Jo Walker, in Gavin OíConnorís debut feature Tumbleweeds. Itís a dazzling performance.At the beginning, as she leaves a boorish and violent husband, Mary Jo seems a vital and headstrong woman. Later, we learn she has a level of emotional maturity below that of her barely teenage daughter, Ava (Kimberley Brown and McTeer work beautifully together). Jo is a love junkie - she lives for that first honeymoon stage of a relationship. But when she and her partner no longer need to spend every moment together, when they begin to fight, she leaves - the man, the relationship, the state. Until Ava - whoís sick of always being dragged around at her motherís whim - finally puts her foot down.The supporting actors are terrific, and director/co-writer OíConnor (who puts in a truthful performance as Jack, Joís latest flame) handles the material well. He recognises the star he has in McTeer, and stands back to let her shine. The film seems
a little long, but itís exuberant and triumphant and a lot of fun.