On the Road Again
Michelle Monaghan, named Best Actress of 2009 by the San Diego Film Critics Society, delivers an extraordinary performance in Trucker. Playing an independent woman who drives a truck for a living, Monaghan creates a tough-as-nails character – but one who discovers her vulnerability where her 11-year-old son is concerned. Fortunately, Trucker is short on sentimentality and long on heart.
Diane Ford (Monaghan) likes to live a carefree life. She’s left her son Peter (Jimmy Bennett) with his father (Benjamin Bratt). However, Peter’s dad becomes seriously ill with cancer, and his girlfriend Jenny (Joey Lauren Adams) can no longer take care of Peter, so she brings the unhappy pre-teen back to Diane. The result? Constant friction between Peter and Diane. As Peter, Bennett (Hostage) comes across quite shocking at times. However, his behavior seems appropriate for a lad in this particular situation. Trucker chronicles a troubled journey of mother and son on their rocky road to reconciliation. We want to shake them at times and say, “Don’t treat your mom or your son like that!” We desperately want each of them to shape up.
Written and directed by James Mottern, this tense drama concentrates on how difficult -- and yet rewarding -- dealing with our human frailties can be. The movie also reminds us how important it is to have good friends helping us along the way. Nathan Fillion (TV’s Castle) shines as Runner, Diane’s best buddy. I loved the playful rapport between Monaghan and Fillion in their scenes together. I can’t help hoping they co-star in more films. Wouldn’t it fun to see them in a remake of a Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movie?
Monaghan’s fans will probably be surprised at the intensity of her work in Trucker. Yes, this lovely actress gave excellent performances in such comedies as Made of Honor and The Heartbreak Kid, but who knew she could pull-off one of the most fearless and edgy female roles of the year? And do it so convincingly!
I think it’s important to mention that Trucker deserves its “R” rating. Steamy sex scenes and crude language abound. Even though young Jimmy Bennett has a key role here, this movie is definitely not for children -- nor for squeamish adults.
Ending on a positive note, it's my pleasure to list the following honors already bestowed upon this unusual independent film (in addition to Monaghan’s Best Actress Award from SDFCS):
Jury Prize from the Fort Collins Tri-Media Festival
Best First-Time Director from the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Spirit of the Independent Award from the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Best Narrative Feature Film from the Woods Hole Film Festival
(Released by Monterey Media and rated “R” for some sexuality, language, brief drug use including minors and a sexual assault.)
For more information about Trucker, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.