Last week, in the search for a reincarnated lama, Unmistaken Child took us on a long trip through the mountains and the valleys of Nepal. In this week’s film, Trucker, we travel a wholly different route, following a long-distance truck driver along America’s highways as she searches for accommodation with the child she abandoned years before.
Last week, in the search for a reincarnated lama, "Unmistaken Child" took us on a long trip through the mountains and the valleys of Nepal. In this week’s film, "Trucker," we travel a wholly different route, following a long-distance truck driver along America’s highways as she searches for accommodation with the child she abandoned years before.
Diane Ford (Michelle Monaghan) had a son Peter (Jimmy Bennett) 10 years ago. Not cut out for motherhood, she left him with his father, Len (Benjamin Bratt), and escaped to the highways driving big rigs. When Len is hospitalized for serious medical treatment, Peter is dumped in her lap for several weeks, and neither Diane nor Peter are happy about it.
"Trucker’s" theme may seem headed for the oft-used mother-son headed-for-reconciliation story but first-time writer-director James Mottern wisely avoids the cliché about emotionally closed-off people who change when they suddenly have to take care of a child.
It is interesting to see how Mottern has fashioned the pieces and parts of this complex relationship as each character changes the other’s life. Diane’s emotional wall is coming down but it will take longer than a few weeks to get past both a child’s feeling of abandonment and this non-maternal mom’s feeling of intrusion in her life.
Mottern does not try to make Diane loveable – she is who she is and tries her best – and she is getting better.
Diane has a pal, Runner (Nathan Fillion), a married neighbor and fellow trucker with whom she spends nights drinking. He wants, but doesn’t get, more out of their relationship.
"Trucker" resonates with authenticity, honestly observing the prosaic and gritty details of this truck driver's job and life.
Mottern couldn’t have cast two better actors to play Diane and Peter, and he skillfully gave them the room to deliver. Monaghan has had serious supporting roles in "Gone Baby Gone," "Bourne Supremacy," "Mission: Impossible" and "North Country," but this time the film is hers. She nails the character of the emotionally closed-off, tough girl, truck driver. Bennett, who skillfully plays a bitter and angry Peter, has been busy in his brief 13 years, with 35 TV and film parts to his credit in the past seven years.
Monaghan, a former model and journalism student, jumped in with two feet, acting as executive producer and actually driving the 53-foot trailer trucks in the film. To qualify to drive she enrolled in truck driving school and earned a Commercial Driver’s License.
This independent film was shot over 19 days on a $1.5 million budget. Like most indies, it’s more about character development than expensive action scenes. It’s a good example of the art of storytelling.
While some critics may disagree, Roger Ebert gives the film a four-star rating, saying "Trucker sets out on a difficult and tricky path, and doesn't put a thing wrong.” He singles out Monahan, noting her performance clearly deserves an Oscar nomination.
Coming soon: Please note changes in the schedule.
"Paris" comes to Plimoth Cinema Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, followed by "September Issue," for two weeks, from Nov. 6 to 19.
Screenings are offered Friday and Saturday at 4:30 and 7 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday at 4:30 only. Check film times by calling 508-746-1622, ext. 8877, or check Plimoth Cinema’s film listings and sign up for e-mail notices of upcoming films at www.plimoth.org.
All films are screened in the Linn Theater in Plimoth Plantation’s Visitor Center. Food, beer and wine are offered each Saturday. General admission is $9.50, $7.50 for Plantation members and seniors. Plimoth Cinema Club Cards, valid for the 2009 season, cost $10 and entitle one person to $1.50 off admission to any film shown at the Cinema.