FINDING NORTH

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Rhonda (Wendy Makkena), a 30 year old Italian-American bank teller who still lives with her parents, spots a naked Travis (John Benjamin Hickey), about to jump to his death from a Manhattan bridge, and leaps out of the car to stop him. While she bickers with her friends through the car’s window, Travis changes his mind and disappears, only to show up rather conveniently at her bank the next day. She obsessively stalks him, following him all the way to Texas where he’s been sent on a scavenger hunt by the tape recorded voice of his lover Bobby, recently deceased from AIDS. No sooner does Travis finally rid himself of Rhonda, than he realizes that he can’t face up to his quest — a trip to Bobby’s home town of Denton, TX — alone. He enlists Rhonda for emotional support and the duo set out to complete his mission while in the process forging an unlikely, if complicated friendship.
This surprisingly good film covered the entire emotional range without being overly manipulative or maudlin. Though I’m kinda suspicious that real-life small town Texans would react so kindly so quickly to a visit by such a stereotypically flashy, loudmouthed Princess and a gay New Yorker, these two Yankee fish out of water would eventually win them over. I, for one, found myself in the schizophrenic position of rooting for these lonely souls to somehow take their relationship to another level while simultaneously fearing exactly the same thing because that would have felt like a complete sell-out. I’m still not exactly sure where “North” is, but I’m guessing it’s the kind of place where haunted, searching folks such as Rhonda and Travis find some sense of inner peace and well-being. In this humorous and touching film by Tanya Wexler, we discover that the search for that special place can often be as gratifying as the place itself.



Posted on October 25, 1999 in Reviews by
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