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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 January 2014
"Jayne Mansfield's Car" (2012 US release; 122 min.) brings the story of two families, one American, one British, who seemingly couldn't be further apart. As the film opens, we are told that we are in "Alabama, 1969" and we get to know the Caldwell clan, with Jim Caldwell (played by Robert Duvall) as the patriarch, and his kids, including brothers Skip (played by Billy Bob Thornton), Carroll (played by Kevin Bacon) and Alan (played by Marshall Allman). One day, a phone call comes in the England, with the news that Jim's ex-wife (she had divorced him and remarried some guy in England) has died and her will was to be buried in Alabama. Her English husband and his (adult) son and daughter are soon arriving in Alabama, and a clash of cultures sets in. To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, this film was directed and co-written by Billy Bob Thornton, so you can say that this is his labor of love. Second, it takes quite a while for this film to "find its groove" but when it does, I was actually taken in by it. Indeed, while there is quite a bit of attention to the culture clash and the fact that Americans and Brits are "separated by language" (Skip to the British woman: "your accent sure is pretty!"), the main theme that emerges is that all the men were involved in one way or another in WWII. The best moment of the film comes when Skip and the British woman are alone, and Skip finally lets his guard go and recounts the full story of what happened to him as a Navy pilot in WWII, more than 25 years ago. Be ready to be surprised...

This film was announced sometime in Fall of 2013 at my local art house theatre here in Cincinnati as "coming soon", but for whatever reason never made it here. I had pretty much forgotten about this when I happen to notice the DVD, so I just had to pick it up and check it out. Bottom line: yes, there are weak stretches in this film, in particular in the first hour, but the second hour made up for it in my book. If you are interested in a different take on how war affects people's lives over the long haul and in some unexpected ways, I'd say "Jayne Mansfield's Car" is worth checking out.
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on 19 March 2014
Written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton this film has an amazing cast including Billy Bob, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick and Tippi Hedren (who doesn't even get credited). I should imagine it's one of those films where all the stars agreed to do it for little or no payment just to get the chance to do some real acting. It never was and never will be a commercial success, but it's good to see all these actors together in one film. Forget the title, the reference to Jayne Mansfield comes after an hour and is over in minutes.
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on 14 October 2014
Billy Bob Thornton's debut film as a director, Sling-Blade, was a great movie, with few characters and a very simple storyline. Jayne Mansfield's Car is the opposite. it boasts a strong cast, and most of the actors here give great performances, but the script is appaling, and these performances become little more than vignettes. If you love the short stories and novels of Raymond Carver, you may like this. I found it intriguing, but, in the end, very unsatisfying, considering the amount of talent going to waste here. Not a car wreck, as some critics have said, but unfortunately, a miss
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on 8 May 2014
A capturing story illustrating man in his history and world, and the others. It makes you thinking. Like "August, Osage country"
Jane, Amsterdam
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on 17 March 2015
A memorable and wonderfully funny tale about the perils of dark family secrets. The cultural clash between an English and a rural American family makes you laugh heartily - and feel deep sympathy. Odd characters and great acting. Jayne Mansfield's car - when it finally appears - is a symbol of the main theme in the film: Don't scratch the surface unless you are prepared for some unwelcome surprises!
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on 30 April 2014
fine acting remarkable writng,very surprised it came from two different writers,prehaps that's why there seems such an over load of characters not conducive to the plot,however other wise brilliant,only wish id had the intellegance to write it myself,its about time we had the courage to,produce this kind of work that does not romanticize war.,
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on 16 June 2015
There was a smashing film here, that never quite materialised.
Funny, or tragic? Director could not quite make up its mind.
John Hurd looking like he did not know where he was.
Not, definitely, as good as previous Billy B. Thornton films.
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on 18 April 2016
It kept freezing
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on 8 January 2016
Thank you
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on 16 May 2014
I got this because of the great reviews - but I found the beginning not to bad but a bit over the top on being crude, I seemed to go on for ever with very little happening - there was no one that you could identify with, such a shame when so many great actors together - would not recommend
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