Taglines: They ran away from everything but each other.
The story revolves around Mary Jo Walker, a single mother whose usual reaction to trouble is to pack her car with her belongings and take her pre-teen daughter Ava in search of greener pastures. The film commences with a strong-willed Mary-Jo in an altercation with a man. As this is something which is routine in Ava’s life, she packs a suitcase as she prepares herself for their inevitable departure.
Mother and daughter embark upon a journey. When a reunion with an old beau in Missouri proves to be less successful than anticipated, Mary Jo accedes to Ava’s desire to see the Pacific Ocean and heads west. Mary Jo wishes to separate herself from her old life, which is manifested when she and her daughter throw the former’s clothing from the car window. En route they are assisted by long-distance trucker Jack Ranson, who coincidentally re-enters their lives after they have settled in San Diego.
Once again, Mary Jo forgoes both her independence and daughter’s well-being in favor of having a man in her life. She quits her office job. On face value, Ava’s life has changed for the better. For example, she makes friends with a girl in her class (although they later part ways when the girl becomes jealous of Ava’s acting talents). Ava also secures a starring role as Romeo in the school play, “Romeo and Juliet”.
Lastly, Ava is ecstatic when she finds a boyfriend, who takes her to watch a movie. Matters, however, become complicated when Jack becomes verbally aggressive towards Mary Jo. Jack exhibits his true personality when he takes Mary Jo and Ava to a fine dinner and becomes infuriated by Ava’s attitude. Ava, however, is just excited about the prospect of having a leading role in the play.
Tumbleweeds is a 1999 American comedy-drama film directed by Gavin O’Connor. He co-wrote the screenplay with his then-wife Angela Shelton, and inspired by her memories of a childhood spent on the road with her serial-marrying mother. It stars Janet McTeer, Kimberly J. Brown and Jay O. Sanders.
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Janet McTeer, Kimberly J. Brown, Jay O. Sanders, Gavin O’Connor, Laurel Holloman, Lois Smith, Michael J. Pollard, Cody McMains, Linda Porter, Ashley Buccille
Screenplay by: Gavin O’Connor, Angela Shelton
Production Design by: Bryce Holtshousen
Cinematography by: Dan Stoloff
Film Editing by: John Gilroy
Costume Design by: Mimi Maxmen
Art Direction by: Wayne Acton
Music by: David Mansfield
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, sensuality and a scene of domestic discord.
Distributed by: Fine Line Features
Release Date: November 24, 1999