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Film: 'The Trip to Bountiful' Available on DVD

by Todd A. Smith

A Pleasant Film, But Pleasantries Aren’t Bountiful

          Parents take care of children throughout their adolescent years but those same children usually have to return the favor for their elderly parents.

          Many sons and daughters have to take in their parents for safety and health reasons, which can complicate their relationships with their spouse and children.

          Such is the predicament of Ludie (Blair Underwood) who has forbidden his mother from driving or leaving his house in Houston. 

          In “The Trip to Bountiful,” Ludie left his fictitious hometown of Bountiful, Texas years ago because it became much too difficult to earn a decent living.

          Much to his chagrin, making OK money and receiving a raise does little to satisfy his high maintenance wife Jessie Mae (Vanessa Williams) who despises her mother-in-law Carrie (Cicely Tyson).

          Jessie Mae disdains the fact that Carrie wakes her up in the wee hours of the morning singing gospel hymns.  Jessie Mae even drinks ice tea while Carrie is still blessing the food at the dinner table. 

In addition, she hates that her mother-in-law sometimes misplaces her pension check, which helps the family make ends meet.

          The hustle and bustle of the city is tolerable for a young couple like Ludie and Jessie Mae, but Carrie yearns for the simple life back in Bountiful.

          She misses the days when she was independent.  She misses the camaraderie of her friends.  And she misses the quiet of the country. 

In Houston she cannot even enjoy nature and its creations because of the busy nature of the big town life.

          Although Ludie has not allowed Carrie to visit her hometown in the last 20 years, she desperately wants to return home before her “home going” as she suffers from a bad heart condition.

          Despite Ludie’s warning to the contrary, Carrie still embarks on her last journey to the only home she has ever loved.  She wants to remember the good times when things were easy for her family even though her son wants to lose those memories to history.

          “The Trip to Bountiful,” which is based on a Tony Award nominated play is a simplistic and pleasant film that boasts of some of the best actors from yesterday, today and tomorrow like Keke Palmer.

          Nevertheless, “The Trip to Bountiful” is too simplistic in its plot and does not contain enough pleasantries to warrant much consideration.

          Tyson is her usual stellar self on screen but moviegoers have seen these types of roles from the veteran actress her entire career from “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” to “Sounder” to “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion.”

          She is the most talented actress in the history of Hollywood to have to battle being typecast and it may not be her fault. 

When her career took off, there were very few roles for a Black starlet so many had to take the roles of the slave, sharecropper or all-knowing family matriarch.

          Even though it is sacrilegious to criticize a talent like Tyson, she has unfortunately been hard-pressed to obtain parts that deviate from the aforementioned categories of characters.

          Luckily, “The Trip to Bountiful” does a decent job utilizing the jargon of a bygone era. 

Furthermore, the wardrobe and film accessories like cars and buses are absolutely on point and should be applauded.

          Unfortunately for “The Trip to Bountiful,” which is now available on DVD, it is a film that can be appreciate but more so by those of a bygone generation.

This article was published on Friday 15 August, 2014.
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