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The Spitfire Grill (1996)

"Before viewing" talks don't have spoilers, but since there's no "After viewing" talk for this one, comments may have spoilers. More»» by Randy Heffner

Is the film worth your time?

Perhaps it is well-worn to say that a person coming out of prison has paid their debt to society, yet how do we really know that their character is changed? How should we behave until we do know? The Spitfire Grill starts with such questions, but doesn’t end there. It explores prisons other than those with bars and the ways that we imprison ourselves and others via controlling demeanors and prejudiced attitudes. It explores the means by which we can free others and the power we have to build and destroy the lives of others. With a very good script and excellent acting (though perhaps uneven accents), The Spitfire Grill takes us through a compelling tale of rebuilding one’s life. I’d put this one high on your list of films to see.

As the film opens, Percy Talbott answers the phone, identifying herself as being with the Maine Tourist Bureau. As the camera angle widens, we learn she is in prison. Soon after, she gets out and decides to start fresh in a small town she read about on her prison job: Gilead, Maine. She finds work and a place to stay, but she also finds town folk that are very suspicious of her. So the stage is set for Percy’s struggle with her past, her neighbors, and herself as she fights to set her life in order. Running time: 117 min.

Mild language and alcohol use. Smoking. In the most intense scene, a posse goes on a manhunt, imperiling lives.

  • Director: Lee David Zlotoff
  • Screenplay: Lee David Zlotoff
  • Leads: Alison Elliott, Ellen Burstyn, Marcia Gay Harden, Will Patton
  • Cinematography: Robert Draper
  • Music: James Horner

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