Tumbleweeds (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes


Tumbleweeds (1999)



Critic Consensus: Strong performances add authenticity and depth.

Tumbleweeds Photos

Movie Info

In its keenly observed account of a woman perched at the crossroads of life and self-realization, Tumbleweeds crystallizes the manifold impressive talents of Gavin O'Connor. Culling his narrative from the dusty backwaters of the working-class South, O'Connor delivers characters nuanced with frailty and defiance and a tone that ricochets between savagery, humor, and compassion. As in that memorable road movie Thelma and Louise, what results is a beautiful, offbeat romance about two individuals discovering sisterhood and the path to self-definition. Notching up yet-another ex-husband, abuse, and disappointment, Mary Jo grabs her meager possessions; her feisty, foul-mouthed daughter, Ava; and her tattered shards of optimism and hits the road in search of a new love interest and support provider. After a former high-school prospect proves dismal, Ava convinces her mom to take a chance on life in the picture-perfect suburbs of Starlight Beach. But within weeks of settling into independence, Mary Jo reconnects with a truck driver from their travels and moves willfully into what seems like fated co- dependency. With Ava enrolled in school and experiencing for the first time a sense of normalcy and stability, Mary Jo wrestles with the impulse to run again, a decision that this time may devastate the bond between mother and child. Anchoring the film's impassioned naturalism are its breathtaking performances, led by 1997 Tony Award winner Janet McTeer. In this sensitive translation of Angela Shelton's childhood memoirs, O'Connor offers a compelling love story refreshingly devoid of sentimentality, cynicism, or cliche.

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Janet McTeer
as Mary Jo Walker
Gavin O'Connor
as Jack Ranson
Jay O. Sanders
as Dan Miller
Michael J. Pollard
as Mr. Cummings
Lois Smith
as Ginger
Laurel Holloman
as Laurie Pendleton
Noah Emmerich
as Vertis Dewey
Ashley Buccille
as Zoe Broussard
Cody McMains
as Adam Riley
Dennis Ford
as Check-Out Clerk
Sara Downing
as Rachel Riley
Joel Polis
as Vice Principal
Christian Payne
as Rachel's Boyfriend
Harry Gradzhyan
as Gas Attendant
Renelouise Smith
as Captain Nemo's Waitress
Kelly Rodgers
as Zoe's Mom at Cast Party
Stephanie Zajac
as Lady Capulet
Lisa Jane Persky
as Diner Waitress
Linda Porter
as Mrs. Boman
Brian Tahash
as Winston Jackson
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Critic Reviews for Tumbleweeds

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (22)

Tumbleweeds impresses with its freshly considered action and total avoidance of the stale and routine.

January 1, 2000

Features two unforgettable performances from a pair of actresses who are bound to make their mark in the movies.

January 1, 2000

One of the most magical movie moments of the year.

January 1, 2000

Beyond the leads' accomplishments, the movie isn't exceptional.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

A deeply and disappointingly conventional picture masquerading as a free-spirited one.

January 1, 2000

The authenticity rings as loud and true as a gas station bell.

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Tumbleweeds

Although compared to Thelma & Louise in some write ups, Tumbleweeds ends up falling significantly short of that mark. Although McTeer's brief appearance as a "star" is memorable, it is a film that sticks in your mind momentarily and forgotten quickly.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

It's been a while since I've seen a good movie, and this proudly stept up to the plate. I was hooked by the second scene. The material is a little familiar, but not quite cliche. The acting is so genuine, fresh, and touching that you can't help but root for these two. There's an eerie undercurrent in the scenes with the boyfriend and the film doesn't shy away from Janet McTeer's character's deeply childish flaws I teared up during the motor home scene. Kimberly Brown and Janet McTeer give perfect performances. Aww....what a feel good movie.

Joey Nevarez
Joey Nevarez

Super Reviewer


Great movie, and kudos to Kimberly on her role.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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