This movie is based on a semi-autobiographical novel, "Bastard Out of Carolina," written by the famous feminist,lesbian author, Dorothy Allison. Analogous to the book it is based on, this film is a genuinely poignant and disquieting piece of art that was too shocking to be aired as originally planned on TNT. More importantly, the director (Anjelica Houston)does a stellar job of portraying the main events and characters in relation to the actual occurrences described in the novel. Author Dorothy Allison claims that through writing the novel "Bastard," she was able to gain perspective on some of the most horrific events of her childhood.
As a whole, the movie chronicles the life of an illegitimate young girl named Bone, who is born into a close-knit, yet extremely impoverished South Carolina family known as the Boatwrights. Naturally, the character Bone is meant to represent the author as she recounts various memories of her childhood.
Bone's life begins well enough- -she grows up amongst a loving single mother named Anney, a younger half-sister (Reese), and many drunken, flamboyant aunts and uncles. However, Bone's life takes a turn for the worse when her mother marries a man named Glen, whom Bone is later forced to call "Daddy Glen."
In the novel, Glen is a victim of verbal and psychological abuse at the hands of his father and two older, financially successful brothers. While his full motivations are never explicitly stated, Glen begins to use Bone as a scapegoat for his failures as a provider and as a husband. Shortly after marrying Bone's mother, Glen begins to physically and sexually abuse Bone. As is common amongst rape and/or incest victims, Bone is too ashamed to tell her mother or any of her other family members what is happening. Not to mention the fact that Bone comes to blame herself for Glen's behavior.
Although there are many warning signs, Bone's mother either refuses to acknowledge her husband's misconduct, or she is simply unaware of what is going on. Nevertheless, at the end of the film, Bone's mother is forced to admit the truth when she finds Glen in the act of sexually assaulting her daughter.
What's more, Bone's mother has to choose between her daughter and the man she loves. It is a fact-based, and heartwrenching tale of classism, sexism, and most of all- -childhood abuse. Despite the fact that this film is definitely not a "Cinderella" story, it is still a tale that desperately needs to be told.