Leaving Normal

This sentimental female buddy picture, sort of a Thelma & Louise without the freeze-frame ending, crashed at the box office earlier this year. It’s the story of two lost souls (Christine Lahti, Meg Tilly) who go looking for Alaska and find themselves along the way. Lahti plays (actually, overplays) Darly, a hard-living, hard-hearted cocktail waitress; Tilly, with her big eyes and small voice, is Marianne, the rootless, impressionable gamine inexplicably befriended by Darly. Leaving Normal has some perceptive moments but veers off course when it strains to be quirky and pithily philosophical. Director Edward Zwick (Glory, thirtysomething) is at his best using a light touch — for instance, making fun of Marianne’s suburban sister, a sort of Hope Steadman-turned-Stepford wife. And the panoramic, if somewhat clich&eacuted, shots of expansive flatlands and snowcapped mountains are stunning even on the small screen. In the end, however, Leaving Normal never totally arrives. C+

Leaving Normal
  • Movie