Tumbleweeds (1999)

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 07/20/00 21:02:02

"An unmitigated triumph. Astoundingly good."
5 stars (Awesome)

When Oscar time came around and a woman called Janet McTeer got nominated for a film called Tumbleweeds, Australia mumbled an embarassed "who?" and hoped she didn't win so we wouldn't be completely flummoxed in public. She didn't, but I'll go so far as to say if not for the awesome performance of Hilary Swank in Boy's Don't Cry, she would have. Tumbleweeds is everything that Anywhere But here wanted to be. Heartfelt, family-based, tear-jerking fun. And it features two great performances, by McTeer and her on-screen daughter, the immensely natural Kimberly Brown.

Mom and daughter are moving on. Small town life is not for them and so California beckons large. Mom is sick of constantly moving about and her constant urge to flee the scene of dodgy relationships and start afresh drives her young daughter to no end of annoyance. But when she finally manages to put down roots as mom blows another romance, who will win the battle of wills over whether to stay or go?

Sure, it sounds like a chick flick. It sounds like a carbon copy of Anywhere But Here. But being completely fair to the film, it far surpasses 'chick flick' with a pair of leads that light up the screen and show genuine affection for one another with abundant personality. Where Anywhere But Here was a dud story brought back to life by the leads, Tumbleweeds is a great story wonderfully augmented by just amazing acting and a lot of heart from two relative unknowns.

This is the kind of film you can take a date to and not have them doze off, a kid to and not have them get bored, a mother to and not have to explain it to her. It's as family a film as you're likely to see, yet still abundantly adult and intriguing.

Take a chance.

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