The creative team that brought Driving Miss Daisy to the screen fails to conjure up similar magic with Rich in Love. Despite a luminous performance by Kathryn Erbe, the story of a South Carolina teen’s coming of age in a dysfunctional family seems overly familiar and dramatically diffuse.
Daisy playwright/scriptwriter Alfred Uhry, recruited by producers to adapt a novel by Josephine Humphreys, has a fine ear for Southern dialog that’s colorful but not too arch. But this languidly paced film follows a meandering narrative line that seems to have trouble coming to its point.
Is it a story about the shattering effect of divorce on Erbe and her aimless, recently retired father (Albert Finney)? Not really, since they eventually adapt quite well to life without mom (Jill Clayburgh), who briefly pops in and out of the film without making much of an impression.
Finney fits into his Charleston accent like an old shoe, but he’s working here with an unfocused character and using his technical virtuosity to carry it along. The unglamorized but compellingly watchable Erbe commendably avoids punching obvious emotional buttons.
A brief romantic interlude with Kyle MacLachlan, Yankee husband of her neurotic older sister (Suzy Amis), never develops into much of anything because his character is so amorphous.
Pic is dedicated to composer Georges Delerue, who died shortly after completing this score.