: : : Anywhere But Here

Story

In Wayne Wang's star-driven adaptation of Mona Simpson's tragicomic bestseller about a mismatched mother and daughter, fortysomething Adele August (Susan Sarandon) is every adolescent's nightmare: over- (or under-) dressed, always and loudly "on," forgetful of mundane matters such as bills, more colorful kid than reliable mum. In contrast, 14-year-old Ann (Natalie Portman) yearns for stability, roots, understated hues. Transplanted from Wisconsin small town and extended family to a Beverly Hills, California, address of choice for American Dreamers like Adele, Ann comes painfully of age--sometimes blighted but also enriched by the fictions of a charismatic parent afraid to be alone in the dark.

Wang has always shown a sure, caring hand when it comes to cross-generational angst (see Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, The Joy Luck Club, Smoke). Here, he encourages Sarandon in a remarkably brave, exposed performance as an aging adventuress whose imagination continually outstrips her ability to make dreams come true, whose charm is both her ticket to ride and a dead end. Portman's pout of strained adolescent distaste soon wears thin, but when The Phantom Menace's kabuki princess momentarily thaws, she projects a lost child's terrible shock and confusion. Hollywood-sized and scripted by the numbers, Anywhere but Here lost ground to Tumbleweeds, a similarly themed but more nuanced indie (with Oscar-nominated Janet McTeer), and it can't hold a candle to Barbara Stanwyck's Stella Dallas (1937), top of the line in this particular genre. But for any daughter who's looked into her mother's face and--yikes!--seen a possible future, this trip's definitely worth taking. --Kathleen Murphy

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Dolby
  • Widescreen

Cast

Susan SarandonAdele August
Natalie PortmanAnn August
Hart BochnerJosh Spritzer
Eileen RyanLillian
Ray BakerTed
John DiehlJimmy
Shawn HatosyBenny
Bonnie BedeliaCarol
Faran TahirHisham Badir
Paul GuilfoyleGeorge Franklin
Jay HarringtonWaiter
John Carroll LynchJack Irwin
Megan MullallyWoman Buying Car
Thora BirchMary

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Wayne Wang
  • Producer: Fox
  • Length: 114 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaNov 12, 1999
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe12
    AustraliaPG
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaMay 2, 2000
    EuropeMar 1, 2004
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