A wonderful performance by Rebecca De Mornay almost carries Getting Out past the flaws in its script. Based on a play by Marsha Norman (‘night, Mother), Getting Out tells the story of Arlie Holsclaw (De Mornay), a young Georgia woman who has a baby shortly after being imprisoned on charges of murder and theft. When she gets out of jail after eight years, she discovers that her mother, played by Ellen Burstyn, had the boy placed with foster parents. Getting Out is best at showing the difficulties Arlie has in rejoining society — getting a job, finding a place to live, and resisting the temptations of her creepy ex-boyfriend, a singularly unpleasant pimp played with greasy relish by Robert Knepper. All the while, she’s searching for her son. De Mornay does a beautiful job of conveying the fragility beneath Arlie’s rough-talking exterior.
But Getting Out wobbles whenever Burstyn is around; she’s unconvincing as a cab-driving, butt-smoking tough customer. The arguments between Burstyn and De Mornay are trite and endless.