‘THE SPITFIRE GRILL’: A 90s DRAMA ABOUT SECOND CHANCES. Review of the 1996 drama about a girl looking to start over. Text © Rissi JC

‘THE SPITFIRE GRILL’: A 90s DRAMA ABOUT SECOND CHANCES

May 19, 2021 1 Comment

One of those films I didn’t see until years after its release, my mother and I watched The Spitfire Grill, and did discover it to be interesting.

The Spitfire Grill (1996) Film Review

Involuntary manslaughter is a stain Percy Talbot must live with. After paying her dues, she chooses to live in a small east coast town. A place where she hopes to start with a clean slate; and away from prying eyes. However Percy (Allison Elliott) finds out soon enough that her dream of a peaceful life may be impossible. The local sheriff, whom she must report to, talks the brusque diner owner into hiring her. Run by the opinionated Hannah (Ellen Burstyn), she’s a woman with little patience for gossip. Still, skeptical about taking on Percy, eventually Hannah agrees. In time, Percy captures the attentions of the resident handyman Joe (Kieran Mulroney).

Taking it upon himself to be the town’s unofficial “protector,” Nahhum Goddard (Will Patton) distrusts his aunt Hannah’s choice of employee. His wife Shelby (Marcia Gay Harden) believes differently. Over time, the three women form a tentative but special relationship little knowing nothing may ever be the same.

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The tagline for this movie beautifully encompasses it. Apart from the fact it’s over a decade old, it’s a title that just doesn’t appeal to me. Turns out, this is one story I’m quite wrong to ignore. The filmmaking is kind of a turn-off because it’s so dated and that automatically is a negative. Especially for anyone who watches cinema today; the advancements are visually noticeable. For a script with such a heavy burden, the most troubling element in the movie is a story of child abuse, rape and a man lusting after a young girl who’s his stepdaughter.

Awarded several honors, this movie did receive some accolades but not from audiences. The cast is impressive and includes a nearly-unrecognizable performance from a blonde-haired Marcia Gay Harden and in a deeply emotional portrayal Elliott (The Buccaneers, The Miracle Worker). The message the story punches is surprising. Mainly it revolves around messages that have Christian underpinnings and some that are merely, good principle – forgiveness, second chances and acceptance. Percy’s past might suggest she isn’t an ideal heroine, but she’s a wonderful character whose only goal is to build a healthy future.

Sadly, the movie isn’t able to offer some of the reconciliations it should afford viewers, but what it does have is a bittersweet ending that is sunnier than we expect. It’s lovely to see that through Percy, the town of Gillead is able to rise out of self-pity and deception, to become better, more productive individuals. By being in their lives, Percy impacts them.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find The Spitfire Grill digitally on Amazon Video

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‘THE SPITFIRE GRILL’: A 90s DRAMA ABOUT SECOND CHANCES. Review of the 1996 drama about a girl looking to start over. Text © Rissi JC

Content: There’s references to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. A man’s treatment of his wife may be mental abuse, but is certainly disrespectful if nothing else. There’s a few swear words including sh*t. Over the course of the runtime, a search party organizes (a little tense). The film is PG-13.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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