Blandly directed from a formulaic script, the homespun SEASON OF CHANGE nevertheless offers some tart observations about a young girl's coming of age.
In the aftermath of WWII, ex-GI Randy Parker (Michael Madsen) is having as much trouble finding suitable work in Montana as he is reconnecting with wife Martha (Jo Anderson), who has turned to religion. Initially unaware of the problems in her parents' marriage, daughter Sally Mae (Nicolle Tom)
carries on life as she always has: riding her beloved horse, talking with best friend Fay (Kira Endsley), and pestering her grandparents (Hoyt Axton, Bette Ford) about the facts of life. Her biggest problem is a case of puppy love involving local black sheep Bobby Bascomb (Ethan Randall). Sally
Mae and Fay drift apart after they spy Randy and Fay's widowed mother Jonelle (Jeannine Bisignano) having adulterous sex. Sally Mae initially keeps her knowledge a secret for fear of upsetting her pregnant mother, but finally tells her during an argument. Randy and Martha consider separation, the
tension exacerbated by the death of Martha's baby and her revelation at the funeral that she was forced into marriage because she was pregnant with Sally Mae.
Jonelle and Fay move to another town, destroying Sally Mae's strongest link to her happy childhood. Randy finds a job and reconciles with Martha, who becomes pregnant again. As her crush on Bobby blossoms, Sally Mae decides that sexual experimentation is not for her. Even though her family crisis
has fostered a new maturity in her, she looks forward to savoring the remainder of her adolescent years.
Despite its shortcomings, this domestic drama addresses a number of dysfunctional family issues with frankness while portraying WWII as the villain of the piece. Without absolving the adults of their transgressions, the movie roots their peccadilloes in the after-shocks of the great war,
particularly Martha's inner-directed rage that leads her into religious hysteria. As played by the unaffected and translucently lovely Tom, Sally Mae is not the standard screen tomboy but a pain in the neck whose feckless emotions don't prepare her for lessons she must learn the hard way. She's a
distant dramatic cousin of A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING's Frankie Addams, another bedeviled teen reluctantly pushed past childhood without understanding adulthood. Elevated by some charming sequences, this heartfelt sleeper reminds us of the magnified tragedies of our own adolescences. (Sexualsituations, profanity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Review: Blandly directed from a formulaic script, the homespun SEASON OF CHANGE nevertheless offers some tart observations about a young girl's coming of age. In the aftermath of WWII, ex-GI Randy Parker (Michael Madsen) is having as much trouble finding suitable… (more)