tek's rating:

Anywhere but Here (PG-13)
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Based on a book that I haven't read. This movie came out in 1999, but I didn't see it until 2015. The story is narrated by one of the main characters, Ann August (Natalie Portman). As far as I could tell, it takes place over a period of about three years (when Ann is 14 to 17), though the passage of time was never very clear. It begins with her and her mother, Adele (Susan Sarandon), driving from Bay City, Wisconsin, to Beverly Hills. Ann's father had left them when Ann was three years old, and sometime thereafter, Adele had married a man named Ted. Adele had always wanted to leave her small hometown, so... she finally did leave town, and her husband. (This happens when Ann is 14, but throughout the movie there are occasional flashbacks to various points before they left Bay City.) Ann, however, was not happy about moving, because she loved her stepfather and her friends (Benny and Mary). And she didn't really get along with her mother. Throughout the film, Ann seems to vacillate between loving and hating Adele. It always seems that Adele loves Ann, though she generally doesn't seem very adept at properly displaying that love. Honestly, most of the time I was worried that it might ultimately turn out that she had some kind of psychological issue, but it never did. I mean, she wasn't exactly emotionally stable, but... she was basically just trying to do the best she could for herself and her daughter. Even if she never really seemed to pay much attention to how Ann actually felt about anything. But it does have a reasonably happy ending, I guess.

And... I'm not sure what else to say. Portman and Sarandon both did a fine job of acting. There were some things in the movie that I found kind of amusing, though mostly it was dramatic, and I guess that was okay. Anyway, um, I guess I'm sort of glad to have seen it, though I don't feel like I would have missed anything if I hadn't. And it's not something I plan to ever watch again. But whatever, it was alright.

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