- Director:Christopher N. Rowley
- Cast:Joan Allen, Tom Amandes, Christine Baranski, Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Victor Rasuk, Tom Skerritt, Tom Wopat
- Release Date:August 28, 2008
- Running time:93 minutes
- Film Worth:$6.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
“…never gets out of first gear.”
Bonneville is a road movie that never gets out of first gear. It’s especially disappointing because, with such a classy cast, it really should have been better. Jessica Lange plays Arvilla, a Mormon who’s just lost her husband, Joe. She’s battling over his ashes with her step-daughter Francine (Christine Baranski), who wants his remains to be buried next to her mother’s grave. But Arvilla promised Joe that she would scatter his ashes. Joe hadn’t updated his will, and Arvilla’s home is set to be inherited by the one-dimensionally mean Francine. But Arvilla can keep the house if Francine gets the ashes. So Arvilla and her Mormon mates Margene (Kathy Bates) and Carol (Joan Allen) take the scenic route from Idaho to California to deliver the urn. Along the way, Arvilla reflects upon the promise that she made to Joe.
Director Christopher N. Rowley aims for bittersweet and fails. He thinks that he can create humour by simply getting the women to collapse into fits of girlish giggles, and Bonneville doesn’t have anything real to say about grief and loss. The characters are fresh from the cookie cutter: Arvilla’s the grieving widow, Margene’s the naughty Mormon, and Carol is prim, proper and pious. It’s a soulless script, and despite a straightforward plot, Bonneville has implausible moments. It’s unbelievable that these women are confounded by a flat tyre. (Kathy Bates can’t change a tyre? Oh, come on!) And when they hit Vegas, straight-laced Carol seemingly forgets that she’s a Mormon and hits the pokies. Even the vintage Bonneville convertible that they ride in lacks presence. When the women don headscarves, the image is reminiscent of another, more accomplished road flick. Yes, it’s Thelma & Louise plus one…and going nowhere.