Tumbleweeds | Chicago Reader

Tumbleweeds

Unsubtle injections of cinema verite and a plot reminiscent of Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore propel this southern-white-trash mother-daughter road movie. Four-times-married Mary Jo (Janet McTeer) needs companionship to survive but flees town after town once her luck runs out. By the time she shacks up with a ticking bomb of a truck driver (director Gavin O'Connor) in southern California, precocious daughter Ava (Kimberly Brown) has had enough of her mother's fickle, flirtatious ways. The extent of Mary Jo's pathological attachment to ancient sexual values is revealed long before she realizes it herself, and the script—by O'Connor and Angela Shelton, loosely based on Shelton's childhood—couldn't be more telegraphed. But capable, if slightly show-offy, performances by McTeer and Brown give this Sundance favorite a little sparkle.

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