Independence Day is an unpleasant dramatic study of young people in a small southwestern town facing family problems and the perennial career decision: to stay home or trek to the big city. Despite some yeoman acting by a talented cast of character actors, the predictable and contrived storyline proves intractable.
Alice Hoffman’s unfocused screenplay centers upon two people in their 20s: Mary Ann Taylor (Kathleen Quinlan), a waitress in her dad’s diner in the tiny south-western town and Jack Parker (David Keith), a gas station mechanic just home after an unsuccessful stay at engineering school.
While the duo’s romance blossoms, Parker is coping with his suicidal sister Nancy (Dianne Wiest), her philandering, wife- beating husband Les (Cliff DeYoung) and his own brutish father (Noble Willingham).
Keith reinforces his image as a likable and forceful young performer while Quinlan demonstrates the ambivalence of love vs a career quite skillfully.