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Anywhere But Here (Widescreen)

Susan Sarandon , Natalie Portman , Wayne Wang    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
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In Wayne Wang's star-driven adaptation of Mona Simpson's tragicomic bestseller about a mismatched mother and daughter, fortysomething Adele August (Susan Sarandon) is every adolescent's nightmare: over- (or under-) dressed, always and loudly "on," forgetful of mundane matters such as bills, more colorful kid than reliable mum. In contrast, 14-year-old Ann (Natalie Portman) yearns for stability, roots, understated hues. Transplanted from Wisconsin small town and extended family to a Beverly Hills, California, address of choice for American Dreamers like Adele, Ann comes painfully of age--sometimes blighted but also enriched by the fictions of a charismatic parent afraid to be alone in the dark.

Wang has always shown a sure, caring hand when it comes to cross-generational angst (see Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, The Joy Luck Club, Smoke). Here, he encourages Sarandon in a remarkably brave, exposed performance as an aging adventuress whose imagination continually outstrips her ability to make dreams come true, whose charm is both her ticket to ride and a dead end. Portman's pout of strained adolescent distaste soon wears thin, but when The Phantom Menace's kabuki princess momentarily thaws, she projects a lost child's terrible shock and confusion. Hollywood-sized and scripted by the numbers, Anywhere but Here lost ground to Tumbleweeds, a similarly themed but more nuanced indie (with Oscar-nominated Janet McTeer), and it can't hold a candle to Barbara Stanwyck's Stella Dallas (1937), top of the line in this particular genre. But for any daughter who's looked into her mother's face and--yikes!--seen a possible future, this trip's definitely worth taking. --Kathleen Murphy

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious overlong character study May 8 2000
This is a tedious, overlong character study about the dysfunctional relationship between an irresponsible and self centered mother and her pouty teenage daughter. Adele August (Susan Sarandon) leaves her home in Wisconsin and drags her 14 year old daughter (Natalie Portman) to a new life in the bright lights of Los Angeles. The problem is it is the same old hopeless life in a brand new place.
There is really no story here, just a series of situations for mother and daughter to bicker over so we can be convinced how intense a love-hate relationship they have with one another. The characters spent the entire movie trying to confuse us as to which of them was more immature.
This is a classic example of how good acting cannot save a bad screenplay. Both Sarandon and Portman did an outstanding job of playing their characters. But each of them were playing characters that were so repellent that there was nowhere to turn for relief. Of the two, Portman evoked a sense of pity for poor Ann, who had to be stuck with such an obnoxious and putrid mother. Admittedly, I have to give Sarandon credit for doing such a fine job of making Adele so distasteful.
I rated this film a 3/10, despite fine performances by both leads. I just don't feel it is entertaining to spend two hours watching two puerile characters snipe at one another. I would only recommend this movie to women who had bad relationships with their mothers (probably a large demographic now that I think of it) for the obvious identification factor. Perhaps this film will make them feel a little better that they are not alone in their frustration and anger. For all others, I would suggest pushing bamboo under your fingernails as an attractive alternative to this torturous film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sarandon and Portman shines!!! March 25 2004
Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman are two very talented actress. They are the reason that makes me buy this DVD. And their performances are superb. However, the script is a little loose.
It is about a Mom Adele who is a little bit wild and crazy, who loves so much about her daughter and thinks her planning on her will simply be the best for her. While the daughter Ann has her own preferences, which makes her always wants to escape from her mom. What makes this simple story even more flat (unfortunate) is the script does not provide any chemistry and dynamics between these 2 characters. We know their conflicts, but sometimes, we see the daughter hates her mom, and suddenly, she is be-friending with her. Even both actress tries hard to make them 2 believable characters, still the story lacks certain sparkle to make this a 'real good' movie. Fortunately, the performance of Sarandon and Portman never disappoints you throughout the whole movie.
The ending concludes the movie very well:
Ann: "Even if you can't stand her (the Mom). Even if you hate her. Even if she's ruining your life. There's something about my mother. Some romance, some power. And when she dies, the world will be flat. Too simple, too fair... Too reasonable."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate Portrayal by Natalie Portman Oct. 20 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This movie features Adele August (Susan Sarandon) , an unstable and over the top prima donna , and her quest for meaning , which sadly makes life miserable for her level headed and reserved 14 year old daughter Anne (Natalie Portman).
I am not a fan of Susan Sarandon and certainly had no sympathy for her character, but I love Natalie Portman, and sympathized with her struggle for emotional comfort and stability throughout the movie.
Natalie Portman always exhudes great beauty warmth and cuteness, in whatever role she plays.
One feels great compassion at Anne's' pain, when she is ripped up from her environment in Wisconsin by her mother and taken to a poky little flat in Hollywood, or when encouraged by her friends, she phones her remarried father, and he cruelly snubs her.
Another touching scene is when she abandons her plan of tricking her 'boyfriend' to humiliate him, and simply falls into his embrace , clutching at a little love , love that she desperately needs and deserves.
The movie highlights the damage done to children, by single parent families, and captures the longing of Anne for a stable home life , which all children should have and deserve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars JUST PLAIN OL' GOOD MOVIE March 12 2004
I like this movie a lot. However, I just don't get the point of the Mothers character. Yeah, she's a free-spirit with quirky tendencies, but they never really get to any point with why she acts like that, or if anything exciting will happen to her. For a moment I thought she was suffering depression in the scene where she just decides to vacuum rather than join her daughter (Portman) to a Christmas party. Besides that its a good movie. Lots of different scenes, which I like in all movies. Natalie Portman is a terrific actress and I will continue to collect all her great films like Beautiful Girls and Where The Heart Is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best movie ever!!!!! April 24 2004
By A Customer
i loved this movie, it is my favorite movie and always will be. The only film i've ver cried in, and never forgot about from when i first saw it in theaters when i was 8. The plot in this movie is inspiring and unforgetable. The cast (sarandan,portman) were truly amazing and once again bringing mothers and daughters close. I would have to say portmans best performance ever with the lines she was given: "even if you hate her, you can't stand her,there's something about my mother, because when she dies the world will be flat".
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Pick for a Mother & Daughter Movie Night!
As posted in the title, it's a great pick for a mother & daughter movie night! I've watched this movie with my mom & sister many times, we're all fans. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Leah-S
2.0 out of 5 stars Unlikeable
Unmemorable except for the fact that I remember it was depressing without being introspective, very meaningful, or even likeable.
Published on May 17 2004 by Emily J. Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Its really good it shows what teens go through and what her mom is going through and how the daugther is the mom role and how disfuncanational things are.
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by angelfacejuliasnumber1fan09
5.0 out of 5 stars Worst nightmare of a mom for a teenage girl
Susan Sarandon plays the part of an unstable mom looking for The American Dream to perfection as she hauls her far more stable, reluctant daughter (played by Natalie Portman) from... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by Peggy Vincent
It was extremely tough to choose, but "Anywhere But Here" is the best movie of both Natalie & Susan. I recommend it to anybody who has children or is a child! Read more
Published on July 14 2003 by July 11
2.0 out of 5 stars good thing I saw it for free...
What do you do with a couple hours to kill and a movie on tv? This movie was about as pointless as they get. Read more
Published on April 19 2003 by Richard Novak
5.0 out of 5 stars Two top class perfomances
Teaming a veteran, Susan Sarandon, with a relative novice, Natalie Portman, was a stroke of genius. They are truly a team, partly so as the characters, definitely so as actresses. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2002 by david holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid movie, I love it!
I know, I know, this movie is labeled by many guys as a "chick flick" but I love it. Maybe I'm just partial to Natalie Portman, but the story was very well written... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002 by DJ Heinlein
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarandon in Fine Form Per Usual!
I was a bit leery of this movie when I ordered it because, frankly, I had never heard of it, but was not disappointed when it arrived and I watched it. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Alphia D. Larkins
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