Volume 93, Issue 43

Tuesday, November 16, 1999


Messenger delivers the entire package

Anywhere But Here the place to go

Dutch bio loses votes

Curiosity Shop turn back the clock

Ideal and Plasticine's efforts soft and shapeless

Anywhere But Here the place to go

Photo by Lorey Sebastian
LOOK HONEY, THEY'RE HAVING A CLEARANCE SALE ON JAR-JAR DOLLS. Natalie Portman maintains her hot streak by starring alongside Susan Sarandon in Anywhere But Here.

By Tara Dermastja
Gazette Staff

Is it possible to guarantee a successful chick-flick nowadays that is not focused on romance or Julia Roberts? Fans of Notting Hill or Runaway Bride may doubt the scenario, but that will change once they discover Anywhere But Here.

This clever new dramatic comedy about a mother/daughter relationship is charming, heartbreaking and leaves viewers feeling the need to call home.

Adele August, played by Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) has decided to leave the comfort of Bay City, Wisconsin for the bright lights of Beverly Hills. Disapproval from her 14 year-old daughter, Ann, played by Natalie Portman (The Phantom Menace) isn't enough to change her mind. Saying their goodbyes to family, a job and an ex-husband, Sarandon and Portman begin the difficult task of starting over.

With very little money, a newly bought Mercedes Benz and a dream, Sarandon's character is ready to live the kind of life only found in the movies.

When Ann is left by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, or when a trip to the ice cream store turns into an attempt to runaway, viewers can't help but wish she could somehow escape. Ann's hatred towards Sarandon's character is sincere, as Adele's self-motivated actions continually destroy the little amount of joy Ann is occasionally rewarded.

As the plot develops their new Beverly Hills life, which is more Slums of Beverly Hills than Clueless, the audience joins Adele and Ann through two years of surviving heartbreak and humiliation. Besides the more serious scenes, the movie contains some quirky action which helps keep audience members interested and amused. These humorous additions balance the less than tolerable moments.

Sarandon plays the selfish mother admirably, allowing the audience to both love and hate her almost as much as her daughter does. And Portman, best known as The Phantom Menace's Queen Amidala, proves her screen presence alone is enough to enchant viewers.

Based on a superb script and believable characters, Anywhere But Here has the ability to intrigue, yet still avoid the typical intrusion of too many sub-plots and supporting characters. Sarandon and Portman carry the film without overacting, expressing a charm only great actors possess. With the success of Sarandon and Portman, there is no real need for supporting actors, but the auxillary cast gives the film an extra kick of humour.

Anywhere But Here is one show which should not be missed. It proves there are still some movies with enough substance and talent which don't need mind-blowing special effects to entertain. With Portman and Sarandon holding their own, this film is entertaining enough to see twice. The scenes are enjoyable, the characters are real and the plot almost leaves viewers hoping for a sequel.

Audiences won't want to be anywhere else but there.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999