TV Movie Review: ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ Is A Dull Ride

Review By Susan Kamyab

 
Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to begin.  What was supposed to be a touching story of finally reaching to the place you once called home became a never ending marathon of monotony.
 
Based on the 1985 original film, The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of Mrs. Watts (Cicely Tyson), an elderly woman, who miserably lives with her overprotective son and his domineering wife in Houston, TX.  As she is getting older, she desperately wants to visit her home town in Bountiful, TX one last time before it’s too late.  After getting fed up with her suffocating treatment, she tricks her daughter-in-law and sets out on a journey to finally see her childhood home in Bountiful.
 
I don’t know if that premise even sounds interesting to you, but I had hoped Lifetime would have added their usual flare to their often interesting TV movies.  This sadly, was not anything but a slow, dragged out trip to nowhere.  Usually in these films where the main character runs away, we are treated with memorable characters along the way, or mishaps that create an obstacle and slightly worry us.  However in this film, the moment something came close to being an obstacle for Mrs. Watts, it would be followed by the easiest and quickest resolution.  And her brief travel companion, Thelma, played by Keke Palmer didn’t make the film any less boring.  Palmer fails to supply any real depth or emotion to her character. 
 
I can’t just rag on Palmer’s performance.  The entire cast seemed as though they were just reading off a script they had memorized an hour or so before.  They all came across so fake, making it hard to believe in or care for their characters.  The only one who managed to actually give a compelling performance as Mrs. Watts’ compassionate son was the always talented, Blair Underwood.   Of course the Oscar nominated Cicely Tyson was not bad either, she just wasn’t great.  She still nails that defeated facial expression that makes you want to hug her.  But overall you still have to hold her to a higher standard than the other actors.  I have seen her do much better.  Her ten minutes in The Help drew me in more than any moment during the hour and half she spent on screen as Mrs. Watts.
 
The Trip to Bountiful may not want to be your first choice to see on Lifetime this weekend.  I recommend you check your TV guide and see if The Happy Face Killer or Flowers in the Attic is replaying.
 
The Trip to Bountiful is a Lifetime TV original movie.

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