The Spitfire Grill Review

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Ex con is given opportunity for a fresh start when she is taken in by the owner of 'The Spitfire Grill.' The town is effected by the new comer in a number of ways..


This Sundance-winning chick flick, something of a departure for the man who brought the world the TV series McGuyver, would doubtless like to think of itself as a latter-day Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe but, while not without charm, lacks the sassy wit and vitality that made Tomatoes so engaging. On release from the slammer for offing her stepfather, "Percy" (Elliot) gets a waitressing job at The Spitfire Grill diner in a one-horse Vermont town.

Despite hostility from the regulars, she quickly finds favour with the diner's elderly owner (Burstyn) and put-upon colleague Shelby (Harden), so much so that when the former is taken ill, the responsibility for the Grill falls to Percy. From then on, romances are formed, friendships forged, and dark, not entirely pleasant secrets come to the fore, with unexpected consequences. This is a solemn experience, bereft of humour and all too reliant on TV movie-esque schmaltz, but what it lacks in these areas it makes up for in others. Performance-wise, Elliot makes for a wistful, touching heroine and suggests that hers is a name to take note of, while Burstyn and Harden are in fine form, and Will Patton assumes with ease the archetypal all-men-are-rotters role as Shelby's troublemaking hick hubby. And the many shots of Vermont forests and sunset landscapes are truly picturesque, helping to carry the movie through its slower passages. Hardly ground-breaking stuff, then, but those looking for a gentle, three-hankie trip to the pictures will find exactly what they seek.

Nothing new, but a nice story and pleasant film