Sweet Home Alabama

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas Patrick Dempsey, Fred Ward, Mary Kay Place

Director: Andy Tennant

Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) plays an up and coming fashion designer living in New York City with her rich and influential boyfriend Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) who also happens to be the son of the mayor, Kate (Candice Bergen), of the city. As Melanie finally launches her own range of designs with astounding success her boyfriend proposes marriage to her, she accepts but insists that she has to go back home to Alabama to tell her folks, Earl and Pearl (Fred Ward and Mary Kay Place), the good news. It turns out that she left her husband Jake (Josh Lucas) in Alabama but their divorce has never been finalised as her husband refuses to sign the divorce papers, so she now has to get him to sign them before she can marry her new man – hence her return home!

Initially when she sees her soon to be ex-husband all they do is argue but then she begins to notice all the changes he has made to his life and this leads to old feelings being rekindled. Eventually her new boyfriend follows her to Alabama and she is now forced to make a final decision to choose between her old love and her new love.

Reese Witherspoon excels as the country girl turned glitzy socialite, she handles the rawness and the elegance required for the role perfectly. Josh Lucas’ portrayal of the typical Southerner who struggles to improve himself to get the woman he loves is equally good, as is love rival Patrick Dempsey’s, who despite his power and money is still very honourable and decent. From the supporting cast I particularly want to mention, Candice Bergen as the powerful mayor and domineering mother, Fred Ward as the patriotic southerner who totally disagrees with the Yankees and Mary Kay Place as Melanie’s mother. They all give strong convincing performances.

Direction from Andy Tenant is okay but he seems to be uncertain of whether he is making a comedy or a drama, anyhow this said it is still a very beautifully filmed movie.

4 out of 6 stars

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