We gave it an A-
Without the fine performances of Oscar-nominated Janet McTeer and newcomer Kimberly Brown, this seen-it-before story of free-spirited (read: immature, wrong-guy magnet) mom Mary Jo and wise, long-suffering daughter Ava could have been your average TV movie. Overshadowed in its theatrical release by the similar, more-ballyhooed ”Anywhere but Here,” Tumbleweeds is a smaller, more complex take on the joys — and destructiveness — of mother-daughter love.
British stage actress McTeer disappears into Mary Jo, a woman fast reaching the limits of where her spunky-gal charm can take her. While her grand gestures do have their appeal (she quits her dead-end job in a delicious ”kiss my ass” pique), they also have a price: As she prepares to skip yet another town to escape yet another bad relationship, for example, she is brought up short by her sole friend, who asks in wounded disbelief, ”Were you even going to say goodbye?” McTeer’s face as she considers her response — as she realizes she HAS no response, but that she SHOULD — is one of the film’s finest moments.