The Trip to Bountiful is a superbly crafted drama featuring the performance of a lifetime by Geraldine Page. She plays Mrs Watts, a woman whose determination to escape the confines of life in a small Houston apartment with her selfless son Ludie (John Heard) and his domineering wife Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn) leads her on a moving and memorable journey across the Gulf Coast to return to Bountiful, the town where she was born and raised.
Adapted by Horton Foote from his 1953 teleplay that enjoyed theatrical success on Broadway, the 1947-set film recalls the days of scripts with real plots and dialog.
Life for Mrs Watts with Ludie and Jessie Mae is a claustrophobic and harsh existence of forced politeness, petty battles and demanded apologies. Heard is excellent as the downtrodden Ludie burdened with keeping the peace while contending with money problems and self doubts.
Glynn likewise puts in a strong performance, giving a human edge and depth to what could have been an otherwise nagging wife stereotype. Page’s work is excellent throughout.
1985: Best Actress (Geraldine Page).
Nomination: Best Screenplay Adaptation