It's been fifteen years since Roxy Carmichael left Clyde, Ohio, for fame and fortune. Now the town is excitedly planning for her homecoming. Among those anxiously awaiting her return: the forgotten boyfriend who fathered Roxy's child (Jeff Daniels); Roxy's rival (Dinah Manoff); and Dinky Bossetti (Winona Ryder), a gifted but eccentric 15-year-old girl who feels secretly tied to Roxy's past. Sparkling with heartfelt humor and warmth, Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael is a tender story of yearning and self-discovery. Of hopes, celebrity and dreams. And the importance of finding acceptance on one's own terms.
Blondie's Deborah Harry has said that as a little girl, she had hoped Marilyn Monroe was her mother. The fantasy of having a celebrity parent is not lost on 15-year-old Dinky Bossetti (Winona Ryder), who is positive that the glamorous Roxy Carmichael is indeed her birth mother. The 1990 film Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
is more about Dinky and the town's obsession with its one claim to fame than Roxy, who really isn't all that famous. (She had a song written about her.) Little seen and seldom heard, Roxy works more as a poetic device here, causing the townspeople of her small Midwestern hometown to get all worked up about her return home and delving into why their worth is tied to the glamorous life Roxy represents. Ryder was in her late teens when she tackled this role, and no amount of loose black clothing or surly demeanor can mask her gamine beauty. Still, she manages to pull off the role of the class outcast, who in all probability would've had a better life if her parents hadn't stuck her with the oddball name of "Dinky." As she explains to someone who is confused by her actions, "It's not for you to understand, really." But Dinky is a stubborn teenager who is sure that her life would have been better if it turned out that Roxy is her birth mother. Indeed, it could've been. Roxy had an affair with local landscaper Denton Webb (Jeff Daniels) and gave the baby up for adoption exactly 15 years ago. Hmmm. As it turns out, Dinky was adopted, too. The film is pleasant and Ryder is a joy to watch, but in terms of offering a compelling storyline, it's not much different from your average movie of the week. --Jae-Ha Kim