TV Movie Recommendation: Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

Quote from Bastard out of Carolina by Narrator: “The day I was born started off bad and only got worse.  I guess I was lucky I got born at all.”


Producer: Amanda DiGiulio and Gary Hoffman

Director: Anjelica Huston

Writers: Dorothy Allison (book) and Anne Meredith (teleplay)

Major Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ron Eldard, Glenne Headly, Lyle Lovett, Jenna Malone, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Ricci, Michael Rooker, Diana Scarwid, Susan Traylor, and Grace Zabriskie

Rating: R for strong depiction of sexual and violent abuse, including rape of a young girl

Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

I don’t remember the first time I watched this, but after it was done I was completely engrossed in what I saw.  Bastard out of Carolina is an adaptation from Dorothy Allison’s novel with the same title.  I can’t say enough about the cast, both main and supporting, because the performances are believable in every second of every scene.  Ron Eldard as Glen Waddell will go down as one of my best performances of a “bad guy.”  It was when I was first introduced to Jena Malone as a child actress and her effortless ability to transform into Bone.  The story focuses on Bone and her mother, Anney Boatwright, during the 1950s South.  When illegitimacy is looked down upon and sexual molestation is thought as a family problem, the mother and daughter try to find love and forgiveness for each other.  We are still a family no matter what happens is the mantra of this familial line, but things become fractured when it is clear Bone is not safe around Anney’s second husband, Glen.   She is passed around among her aunts and uncles, sometimes finding freedom away from Glen and sometimes getting caught in his trap.  This coming of age story is ripe full of issues and some that never go away.  The sad thing is the problem still exists today, but the good thing is there isn’t as much stigma surrounding it or the lack of resources available.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by giving this TV movie a shot.

Bastard out of Carolina gets a rating of 100%.



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