A small North Carolina town is on the brink of desertion. The young are desperate to leave, and the old can’t remember why they stayed. When a man arrives promising prosperity for dried up Durham, a few residents begin to reevaluate their place in the community.
Main Street starts with a simple story and lets the characters develop around it. The action moves back and forth between several plot points, keeping your attention as events unfold. At 90 minutes, you get just enough story without being worn out.
The problem with Main Street is its inconsistency. Sometimes the script was so conversational I couldn’t help but believe the reality of the story. In other cases, the actor’s lines had no flow.
Main Street had wonderful lead characters. Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Amber Tamblyn and a majority of the prominent female characters couldn’t have been better. I felt what they felt and saw Durham through their eyes. Orlando Bloom and Andrew McCarthy acted equally well in their scenes while Colin Firth, on the other hand, never nailed his supposed Texas accent. It wasn’t his best performance, and for that I was greatly disappointed; however, the cast came together nicely to allow us all to quickly forget this minor casting flaw.
Unfortunately, all of the film’s minor characters served only superficial purposes. Most often they were there to explain a scene in the film, either by way of their own lines or from a main character saying something to them. This made it seem like the film didn’t trust its audience to catch onto key elements of the plot. For those of us who could piece together the story alone, this was nothing more than an unpleasant distraction.
Even with its flaws, Main Street had heart. This was the last film written by two-time Academy Award winner Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird, Tender Mercies, The Trip to Bountiful) and thus the film meant a lot to those involved.
With its historic cinematic significance Main Street deserves a certain degree of credit. It was a pleasant experience, though it does leave much to be desired.