Earthly Possessions [1999]

Susan Sarandon is Charlotte Emory, a sexually frustrated unhappy homemaker who longs for her husband to stop taking her for granted. Stephen Dorff is Jake Simms, a bank robber with a vicious temper and the obligatory heart of gold. When Jake attempts a bank robbery, Charlotte becomes his hostage. Together, they go on the lam. Thelma and Louise this isn't. This original HBO film, Earthly Possessions, based on the Anne Tyler novel, is a sentimental road movie that requires more than a little suspension of disbelief (that they're able to escape in the first place is a miracle). Yet Sarandon, even in the most disappointing of roles, is a phenomenal actress who will make us believe just about anything. And so she does here; even with the trademark two-dimensionality of Tyler's characters, Charlotte Emory is a woman you can't help but care about. Dorff, with his rough-and-tumble good looks, is fairly believable as the irresponsible hooligan, and despite the unlikelihood of a relationship developing between these two, you are sucked into the romance right with them. Throw in a couple of car chases and a pregnant girlfriend, and you've got an entertaining, lighthearted film. While the ending is a little disappointing, fans of Tyler's novels and her other books on film (Saint Maybe and Breathing Lessons) will surely be swept away. --Jenny Brown

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