Can we go home again?
One of my all time favorite films is The Trip to Bountiful. It is a tour de force performance by Geraldine Page for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress. Supporting cast members are John Heard, Rebecca De Mornay, Carlin Glynn and Richard Bradford. The screenplay is by Horton Foote based on his play The Trip to Bountiful. You might remember him because he did the screenplay for the film To Kill A Mockingbird.
One theme of this film is about the desire to return to the place where you felt most at home. The nostalgia for earlier times in our lives when we may have been happier.
Carrie Watts (Geraldine Page) is an elderly widow who is living with her son and daughter-in-law in a cramped apartment in Houston. She wants to make a visit to her family home in Bountiful, Texas once more before she dies. Her son and daughter-in-law can not or do not want to understand her need to make this one last trip.
She plots to hide her pension check and make her escape by bus or train while her son is at work and her daughter-in-law is out of the house. She has made attempts in the past but they have always caught her.
Carrie has some behaviors that really get under her daughter-in-law’s( Jessie Mae) skin. She loves to sing old hymns all day while doing housework and she is always rushing about the apartment in spite of her heart condition that brings on a few fainting spells.
The opening music for this film is an old hymn that gets me weepy every time I hear it, ” Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling. ” I am not really very religious. It is just very soulful to me. Anyone familiar with the old southern hymns will recognize many that Carrie is fond of singing.
Carrie needs to make this journey home to complete something in her life. To lay things to rest. As the film progresses we learn the story of her life.
Another theme in this film is the relationships between parents and children and how these relationships impact their lives. It is about how these relationships bind them together. And it is about how people can be bound to the land.
Have you wanted to return to an earlier time your life? Have you wanted to go back to a certain place? Would going back help to complete something in your life? Like completing a circle.
Have you even seen this film? What were your impressions of it?