Cadillac Girls

  • 1994
  • 1 HR 37 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama

This slight Canadian melodrama, about the strained relationship between a career-oriented single mother and her teenaged, potentially delinquent daughter, offers little beyond obvious formulaic suds. Picked up by the police for stealing a van, young Page (Mia Kirshner) is released into the custody of Sally (Jennifer Dale), her mother. Sally, a college...read more

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This slight Canadian melodrama, about the strained relationship between a career-oriented single mother and her teenaged, potentially delinquent daughter, offers little beyond obvious formulaic suds.

Picked up by the police for stealing a van, young Page (Mia Kirshner) is released into the custody of Sally (Jennifer Dale), her mother. Sally, a college professor, is about to leave San Francisco to return to her tiny hometown of Ingonish, Nova Scotia, upon the death of her estranged father. In

Ingonish, mother and daughter are received frostily by Sally's Aunt Grace (Anna Cameron) but are warmly welcomed by local policeman Donald Allen (Mike Crimp). Sally sets about settling her father's affairs and tries to come to terms with the petulant, rebellious Page, who feels that her mother has

always put her work ahead of her daughter. Meanwhile, Sally falls for self-absorbed local poet Sam LaRiviere (Gregory Harrison), who ends up sleeping with Page when Sally runs off briefly to interview for a job at Harvard. Mother and daughter eventually thrash out their differences, and Sam is

sent packing to an Alberta teaching job. Page, falling in love with shy Mickmack Indian trucker Will (Adam Beach), stays behind with Grace to go to school, while Sally heads for Boston. The titular reference is to a big yellow Caddy (in the backseat of which Page was conceived), now up on blocks

in the garage, which becomes a vehicle of sorts for the eventual reconciliation.

Peter Behrens's screenplay is short on the kind of detail that might explain his characters' present loves and predicaments; instead, he pins the mother-daughter friction entirely on the family's staunch Catholicism (symbolized by the chilly Grace). Director and co-producer Nicholas Kendall, a

former documentary filmmaker, is at his best in detailing the local-color idiosyncrasies of small-town Nova Scotia life, but for all the emotional histrionics, his characters remain cliched and unconvincing. Particularly irritating is the top-billed Harrison, veteran of numerous American TV movies

(FOR LADIES ONLY) and miniseries (CENTENNIAL, FRESNO), whose supposedly sensitive, free-spirited poet is just an obnoxious, plot-driving boor.

Financed by a consortium of mostly Canadian television companies, the film was gorgeously shot by Glen MacPherson in the autumnal splendor of Halifax, Vancouver, Nova Scotia, and (in the opening scenes) San Francisco. It premiered at the 1993 Seattle Film Festival and, unreleased in the US, went

straight to home video and pay cable. (Nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)

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