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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem
Bonneville is that rarest of gems; an intelligent, wonderful movie that stars women over the age of 50. Jessica Lange plays Arvilla, a recently widowed woman who has promised to deliver her husband's ashes to her hostile step-daughter, Francine (Christine Baranski) in California. Her two friends, played by Kathy Bates and Joan Allen, won't let her make the trip alone...
Published on June 21, 2008 by Vittoria de Artemisia

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The scenery makes the trip worthwhile...
A road trip film with three ladies finding their way to the California coast from Utah. The audience appeal on this one is apparent and I don't think it will disappoint my "lady-flick" customers in any way. The performances are fine, the story is fair - but I have to say the strengths of this film are the locations and the car.

Lake Powell, the salt flats and...
Published on June 22, 2008 by Steve Kuehl


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem, June 21, 2008
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This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
Bonneville is that rarest of gems; an intelligent, wonderful movie that stars women over the age of 50. Jessica Lange plays Arvilla, a recently widowed woman who has promised to deliver her husband's ashes to her hostile step-daughter, Francine (Christine Baranski) in California. Her two friends, played by Kathy Bates and Joan Allen, won't let her make the trip alone. They set out in Arvilla's late husband's Bonneville convertible intending to drive to the airport, but Arvilla changes her mind and decides to drive to some of her late husband's favorite places. This is a great road trip/female buddy movie with flawless performances, beautiful scenery, laughter and tears, even a little romance mixed in along the way. Bonneville only recieved limited release in theaters apparently because of the common Hollywood belief that people only want to see movies that are loaded with special effects and violence. So, even if you've never heard of this movie, buy it! You won't be disappointed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Film with Heart: Appreciating Fine Actors, July 3, 2008
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This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
BONNEVILLE creeps up on the viewer. It is a solid marriage of light comedy and sentiment and the somewhat slight story is brought to life by the natural gifts of a trio of superb actors. Why it did not find popularity in the theaters is probably due to the topic of death and the cast of 'older actresses', but it is a solid little film that deserves more attention.

Arvilla (Jessica Lange) has lost her husband of 20 years and promised to scatter his ashes over places the couple loved. Her step daughter Francine (Christine Baranski) demands the 'ashes' be buried next to her mother's grave in Santa Barbara, threatening her stepmother with eviction from her Pocatello, Idaho home if Arvilla doesn't comply. Two of Arvilla's friends - the restless widow Margene (Kathy Bates) and the oh-so-Mormon Carol (Joan Allen) support their friend and plan to fly with Arvilla to take the ashes to Santa Barbara. But circumstances begin to change when the threesome bond tightly and decide to take Arvilla's husband's old Bonneville on a road trip to California. From here on the film is a Road Trip - a time when the three women learn lessons about life and death and love and compassion from each other - and from a young hitchhiker Bo (Victor Rasuk of 'Saving Victor Vargas', 'Stop-Loss' etc) and trucker Emmett (Tom Skirrett). The trip from Idaho to California passes through some of the Southwest's most beautiful scenery, places once shared by Arvilla and her late husband, and slowly the urn of ashes is distributed along the way to the dreaded Santa Barbara funeral.

Christopher N. Rowley directs this sweet story by Daniel D. Davis with great respect for the gifts of the three fine actors, allowing them to show us just why they remain some of our finest talent on the screen. It is not a great film, but it has such a fine heart that we can relax and just ride along with it. Grady Harp, July 08
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bates, Lang, Allen, Baranski....a great movie with the top down!, July 14, 2008
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
I picked up this movie through Netflix as a recommedation for liking Kathy Bates. I'd never heard of it, but I'm a sap for "Thelma and Louise" type movies so I gave it a try. And I'm glad I did.

Thelma and Louise fans will definitely relate to this one, despite there being three ladies in the convertible this time. The similarities are astounding...right down to them picking up a cute hitch hiker and coming into possession of a lot of money, and wearing the signature scarves and sunglasses with the top down. But, Bonneville definitely stands on its own and has it's own completely different storyline.

Yeah, it's a bit of a sappy movie. Two women driving cross country with their recently widowed sister to deliver her dead husband's ashes to his demanding daughter (a small part played by Baranski). But anyone who has lost a loved one, or possibly had to deal with overbearing family members who weren't always around when the person was living, will definitely relate.

The ending is completely predictable, and plays out just as I expected it would but with a nice simple twist at the end. But just as the overall theme of the movie resonates, sometimes it is more important to just throw up your hands, shrug it off, and accept what life hands to you today. You'll always have your memories, and no one can take that away from you.

A true gem of a movie that will make you laugh and cry, and an all star cast that does it justice!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Film, May 23, 2008
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
Armed with an amazing cast and a sweet story line, Bonneville, hits the road with the sudden death of Arvilla's (Jessica Lange) husband and the demand by his snotty daughter that his ashes be delivered to his memorial ceremony several states away. Arvilla is not ready to give him up and feels a little overwhelmed so her friends insist on flying with her. Plans change enroute and the journey becomes a road trip in Arvilla's classic convertible. Arvilla and her friends discover far more about each other and themselves and begin to glimpse that there is hope even when the summer of life turns into autumn.

A definite girlfriend flick with a more mature angle than the usual offering. Flashes of giddiness, heartfelt conversation, poignant situations, horrible moments and sweet acceptance fill the film. The slower pace and the people along the way, the experiences that cement the friends, and the resolution make for some thought-provoking viewing. Bonneville is squeaky clean and entertaining. After all two Mormon ladies and a recent widow can't get into too much trouble, right?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The scenery makes the trip worthwhile..., June 22, 2008
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
A road trip film with three ladies finding their way to the California coast from Utah. The audience appeal on this one is apparent and I don't think it will disappoint my "lady-flick" customers in any way. The performances are fine, the story is fair - but I have to say the strengths of this film are the locations and the car.

Lake Powell, the salt flats and Bryce NP, coupled with the desert vistas and Calif. coast make for great backdrops, especially when visited in a classic convertible. Technically, the movie is flawed in a variety of ways, including strange plot points; the hitchhiker seemed like he was hiding something else but never alluded to it, the unanswered actions of Joan Allen's character re: the phone, the obvious car changes, unended or walked-into dialogue points, dialogue errors (eulogy made him over 80 years old but in the deleted pics he was obviously 50-60), Skerrit's magical truck change, etc.

The deleted scenes help with some of those issues, I wish they would have all been in the film. The alternate opening was much better and would have helped the film make more sense regarding their marriage. The docu is another "I loved working with everyone" cut, and did provide a little into the Mormon angle for Joan's character. The alternate endings had much more closure, but overall they were having fun making the film and it shows.

Good for a Sunday sit down or ladies night watching feel-good movies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Movie, Not Great, April 12, 2011
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
This is an OK movie, not great but something nice to have on in the background while you are doing your stuff around the house.

The movie is formulaic with the typical best friends helping a grieving widow. After having been married for 20+ years, Arvilla has lost her husband. One of his dying wishes was to have his ashes spread over the places that he loved; this does not sit well Arvilla's stepdaughter who wants her "daddy" to be interred next to her mother. Throwing salt in the wound, if Arvilla does not comply, nasty stepdaughter will take the family home away from her.

Instead of flying from Pocatello, Idaho to Santa Barbara, California they decide to take the late husband's Bonneville on a cross county excursion stopping in the places that dear dead husband enjoyed. Funny, apparently there are no freeways from Pocatello to Santa Barbara since they seem to be in some rather out of the way gas stations.

After arriving late for the funeral with guilty looks on their faces, the ashes are finally presented to wicked stepdaughter only there is quite a funny surprise when the ashes are accidently spilled. Actually, that is the best part of the movie.

There are a couple of things that just did not make sense in this movie - Why was it necessary to make reference to a characters Mormonism when in fact they just made fun of the customs of that religion throughout the movie. How did the truck driver find them at yet another out of the way gas station driving a little blue truck instead of his 18-wheeler?

The little things here and there drove me crazy. I guess if you are looking for mindless entertainment this would suffice, but if you are hoping for something to dig your teeth into, this just is not it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best movie to me, but nobody I know has seen it....what a pity., June 27, 2013
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This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
The first time I viewed this movie I never knew that I would be in the same boat last year, and this year I did my Bonneville trip with my late husband. This movie and the acting of these wonderful actors helped me through a sad time, but made me laugh too. Thanks :) Wish you could have actually been on the trip with me. Take care Kathy Bates you are the best and Joan and Jessica!! Three of the best together. This is a must see movie, oh and Tom Skerritt....what an actor. It is a truly touching movie about how death and different people handle it, and some who make the most of their journey. Oh and lets not forget Christine Baranski really plays a bitchy step-daughter. lol
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a cast!, June 18, 2013
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This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
I had seen this as a rental last year and really enjoyed it. The cast works so well together it would be easy to assume they really are either old, close friends, or part of the same family. Not a weak performance in the group. I won't give away the plot, but this movie is definitely worth adding to any collection. Terrific comedy in unexpected places!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Trio of Superb Actresses Try to Keep a "Thelma & Louise & Louise"-Inspired Road Movie Afloat, July 28, 2008
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
Casting three powerhouse actresses of a certain age in a road movie may sound like a promising concept, but I was disappointed by how insular and monotonous the film feels for a shared journey supposedly focused on self-discovery. Director Christopher N. Rowley and screenwriter Daniel D. Davis, both first-timers to feature films, don't really offer the intimidating trio of Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen much to work with in terms of character or story development, and were it not for the three actresses, this little-seen 2008 movie would have surely ended up on Lifetime TV where it most obviously belongs.

The plot focuses mainly on Arvilla Holden, who just lost Joe, her husband of twenty years while on vacation in Borneo. Back home in Pocatello, Idaho, it doesn't take long for her resentful stepdaughter Francine to stake a claim on her father's ashes to transport them back for a funeral service the following week in Santa Barbara where she lives. Arvilla, however, promised Joe to scatter his ashes at various places that meant something to them. Francine threatens to take away Arvilla's house unless she complies. Under emotional duress, Arvilla agrees but only if she can deliver the ashes herself. She then turns to her friends, sassy Margene and uptight Carol for support as they head out on a road trip to California taking Joe's beloved `66 Bonneville convertible. The rest of the movie follows their various adventures, which include picking up a young hitchhiker looking for his birth father, flirting with a smitten truck driver, and making the typical stops one would make west of the Rockies.

With her shopworn beauty compromised a bit by surgery, Lange is still able to convey the tethered fragility of her early-career work in Frances and Tootsie. She inhabits Arvilla with that lost, Blanche DuBois-like quality that fits the character's delusional aspects very well. Bates (About Schmidt) is in familiar territory as Margene, supplying comic relief and surprising poignancy through her trademark salt-of-the-earth persona. As the hopelessly prim Carol, a devout Mormon, the versatile Allen (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Upside of Anger) uses her vast arsenal of talent to bring life to a relatively cardboard role. Doing a 180-degree turn from her surgically-inclined cougar in Mamma Mia!, Christine Baranski is saddled with a no-win role as Francine. Tom Skerritt relies on his familiar toothy charm as the truck driver, while Victor Rasuk (Raising Victor Vargas) appears to be channeling early Brad Pitt as the low-key hitchhiker.

While the various locations - Bryce Canyon, Bonneville Salt Flats, Joshua Tree - are nicely filmed by Jeffrey L. Kimball, those expecting a post-menopausal version of Thelma & Louise will likely be disappointed since the film's energy level sputters with every curve of the road, especially as it veers toward a predictably drawn ending. At the same time, when are you likely to see actresses of this caliber share the screen again? The 2008 DVD is short on extras - a standard ten-minute making-of featurette with gushing testimonials by the actresses, several deleted/alternate scenes of varying quality, a one-minute gag reel, and a promotional spot for The Red Hat Society, a social organization for women over fifty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Is A Gift To Baby Boomers, June 26, 2008
This review is from: Bonneville (DVD)
I loved loved loved this movie and don't know how I missed this in the theaters as I knew it was coming out had seen a preview of it and was excited to see it..but it was never advertised anywhere so I missed it. Out shopping last night and there it was for sale and I just knew with the cast of these 3 wonderful actresses I had to buy it. My husband and I watched it last night and loved is so much...we are sadly lacking movies like this...also reminds me of the movie Upside Of Anger which Joan Allen also starred in and was another fantastic movie that was hidden away in small out of the way theaters and was so well done. Is the movie industry embarrassed at putting out movies geared towards the over 40 year old??? as each time a well written movie like this comes out with a baby boomer cast it's only in select theaters....I want more of this...This was a really wonderful movie and I laughed so much watching 3 women have a blast together at a very sad but supportive time in their lives. I can't wait to watch this with my daughters who are in their 20's they will love it as the scene with them dancing and singing in the car to the song "Cha Cha" is so funny..but the scene in the hotel room with Kathy Bates on the bed looking for more quarters was hysterical...I could have watched her character all night...she is amazing. We need more movies like this and please don't hide them away in tiny theaters as this movie would have made a lot more money had it been advertised and shown in our local theaters.
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Bonneville
Bonneville by Jessica Lange (DVD - 2008)
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