This is a little movie that boasts a big ensemble cast, including a surprise cameo performance by Andrew McCarthy. I was happy to see him after quite a while. The film gives you a nice look at a part of the United States that is of particular interest to me. You get to see and hear the people of Durham, NC--the ways they regard each other with such respect is an appreciation.
I would have liked to give this one the full five stars, although couldn't, as there are a couple weaker points with this. The movie in itself is charming, well acted and the plot is solid. I just wish they could have pulled out the storyline further, adding some time to more robustly develop this.
Colin Firth pulls into town from a small town in TX. There he and his company have developed the town, employed the people and even added recreational properties. Now in Durham, NC he wishes to do the same by renting Ellen Burstyn's abandoned tobacco warehouse. He has rented it to store hazardous waste and comes into conflict with the town, Burstyn herself, and her niece Patricia Clarkson (who affectionately calls her "Auntie"). While these three are tackling different issues along with the town, there is another side issue happening.
Amber Tamblyn and Orlando Bloom, who is now one of the city's police officers and going to college to become a lawyer, were once a couple. She is grasping at straws to leave Durham for a fuller life while Bloom stays with his mother, and looks out for her welfare. Bloom doesn't want to leave the city, he intends to work there as an attorney after school. These two have been close since high school where they were a steady couple and afterwards. They have since broken off their relationship, although his mother and her parents still are hoping for their reconciliation.
The budding relationship happening between Clarkson and Firth is plausible to work as Colin Firth involves her, through her Auntie's interests in the warehouse. Hinging on the decision Burstyn must make as far as stretching out the amount of time and money on renting her property to his company. This involves the town's opinion and Firth going before the board. He asks Clarkson to accompany him there.
At first Clarkson is stoic but starts to soften as she sees Firth as non-threatening to her Auntie or herself. He is only trying to find a city that needs help financially as his company needs warehousing for these canisters.
During the whole movie, Ellen Burstyn is in a quandary about whether or not to sell her very old and beautiful home. She is quite old now and has never lived anywhere but in it. She was born there and is definitely living through past memories. This causes much duress in her, of which her niece is always there to help with this situation also. I admired her for this.
As Tamblyn makes her decision to leave town, she asks Bloom to take her to the airport. While they are talking and driving, the town has given their positive vote to Firth to go forward. The trucks begin rolling down the interstate towards the warehouse and everything looks like a go.
That is the basic plot without a lot of the things that fill in between the lines. I couldn't conclude the story or it would spoil the whole movie for anyone interested. The question with this movie is why it just sort of ends, without an explanation or tying up loose ends. I suppose it is left up to us to do that.
This movie was so well acted by the characters and the spoken southern wording is lovely to hear. There is a real ambiance to this one; no swearing, no violence. Just a sweet movie that I wish would have gone on for at least another half hour to see where all these relationships would complete. 'Main Street' is a refreshing movie in which one doesn't have to sit through anything objectionable, and in this it holds its charming appeal.