Sporting a fancy line in hats and a dangerously overripe sensibility, writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Steenburgen) abandons her husband and journeys south to grapple with The Great American Gothic Novel. Stuck in a renovated backwoods shack, the local colour soon proves far more vivid than anything her imagination can conjure up. There's the suave hotelier who gets her jalopy back on the road, the doting black maid with an errant lover, and punting through the swampweed cackling balefully here's Torn as the resident rustic loon. Never one to stint himself when it comes to romantic overkill, Ritt piles on the slush with even more gusto than usual. Broadly - and self-consciously - signposted as The Stirring Story of a Woman's Struggle to Find Herself, the result suffers from a bad case of the cutes and a quite intolerable smugness.
Cast and crew
Mary Steenburgen Rip Torn Peter Coyote Dana Hill Alfre Woodard Joanna Miles