×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘The Trip to Bountiful’

With:

Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams, Keke Palmer, Clancy Brown

Having not seen “The Trip to Bountiful” since Geraldine Page won an Oscar for it in the 1980s, a first thought is how oddly similar to “Nebraska” it is — as well as how unusual it feels in this day and age to see a project built around an octogenarian protagonist. Still, when the star is Cicely Tyson, networks occasionally make exceptions, and the allure of seeing this version of the stage revival with a predominantly African-American cast is too good to resist, particularly after Lifetime employed the same formula to fine effect on “Steel Magnolias.”

Though the Horton Foote’s original “Bountiful” was written initially for TV, the main problem with the play-turned-movie, for 21st-century TV purposes, is how little actually happens. And while the screen offers an opportunity to open things up a bit, that doesn’t alter the languid pacing or melancholy tone, hinging on an old woman who wants nothing more than to see the place she grew up one more time before she dies.

Said woman is Carrie Watts, and she’s played by Tyson (a Tony winner in the stage production) with almost manic energy, but also with a sense of loss and exhaustion. “I’d like to recover some of the dignity and peace I used to know,” she says, both qualities having been strained by her living with her respectful son (Blair Underwood) and his snooty wife (Vanessa Williams).

It’s roughly a third of the way in to the telepic’s progress before Carrie embarks on her unscheduled journey, bringing her into contact with several kind strangers, including a young woman on a bus (Keke Palmer) and an understanding sheriff (Clancy Brown).

Counting Bill Haber, Tyson and Foote’s daughter Hallie among its producers, “Trip to Bountiful” already has created side benefits for Lifetime, with first lady Michelle Obama delivering remarks at a screening of the movie. Mostly, though, it’s a showcase for Tyson, who has remained impressively busy in recent years.

That’s not to say this is a particularly great movie (or that the earlier version was, either). Yet as with almost everything else in her storied career, Tyson has finished this “Trip” with her dignity intact.

TV Review: 'The Trip to Bountiful'

(Movie; Lifetime, Sat. March 8, 8 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Atlanta by Ostar Enterprises.

Crew:

Executive producers, Bill Haber, Cicely Tyson, Hallie Foote, Jeff Hayes; director, Michael Wilson; writer, Horton Foote; camera, David Greene; production designer, Eric Fraser; editor, George Roulston; music, John Gromada. 120 MIN.

Cast:

Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams, Keke Palmer, Clancy Brown

More TV

  • The newly married Duke and Duchess

    Broadcasters Order Royal Documentary ‘Meghan & Harry: Baby Fever’

    Broadcasters in Australia and the Netherlands, and cable network Lifetime in the U.S., have joined forces on “Meghan & Harry: Baby Fever,” a U.K.-produced documentary about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It will chart the royal couple’s relationship the hugely anticipated arrival of their first child. ITN Productions [...]

  • Brian Roberts Olympics NBC Comcast

    Comcast Q1 Profit Rises On High-Speed Internet, Sky Results

    Comcast Corp. said profit for the first quarter of 2019 rose 14% thanks to new subscribers coming to its cable unit for high-speed online service and the addition of its recently acquired Sky PLC European-satellite business. The owner of NBCUniversal and the Comcast cable business said profit came to $3.55 billion, or 77 cents a [...]

  • 'The Grand Tour' Presenter Richard Hammond

    'The Grand Tour’ Presenter Richard Hammond Goes ‘Big!’ for Discovery

    Richard Hammond will take a break from his “Grand Tour” duties to make a series about the world’s biggest structures and machines for Discovery. The former “Top Gear” presenter fronts Amazon’s “Grand Tour” with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, but is going solo for “Richard Hammond’s Big!” Hammond’s Chimp Productions will make the show, which [...]

  • EMPIRE: L-R: Toby Onwumere and Jussie

    Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Character Ties the Knot as Actor's Future on Show Is Unclear

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the April 24th episode of “Empire.” Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” got married in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, but the actor’s ongoing assault controversy makes his future on the show uncertain. The episode, entitled “Never Doubt I Love,” was Smollett’s last confirmed appearance in [...]

  • Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of

    'Riverdale' Airs Luke Perry's Final Scene

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear The Reaper,” the April 24 episode of “Riverdale.” “Riverdale” has aired late actor Luke Perry’s final scene as Andrews patriarch Fred. In “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper,” the 19th episode of the third season of “Riverdale,” Archie (KJ Apa) was worried about [...]

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content