The Spitfire Grill

Like so many regional melodramas of delayed revelations in the PBS mode, this winner of the audience award at the Sundance festival has characters—such as the cranky owner of a greasy spoon (Ellen Burstyn) and the young former convict (Alison Elliott) who goes to work for her—that seem fairly potent and interesting as long as their secrets are well guarded. Once the beans get spilled, they come across as cliches. But if one can put up with these cliches, and with Marcia Gay Harden's overacting, there are some nice compensations here, including most of the other performances and the location shooting. Written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff and set in a small town in Maine; with Will Patton, Kieran Mulroney, and Gailard Sartain.

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