Film Scouts Reviews

"The Spitfire Grill"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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August 9, 1996

Quit complaining about the lack of good movies and go see "The Spitfire Grill". It is opening August 23rd in limited markets so you may have to hunt for it, but I promise it is worth the effort. Shown at Sundance Film Festival as "Care of the Spitfire Grill", this Wyeth painting of a movie is so much more than a mystery that unfolds in a small Maine town. Ellen Burstyn is the owner of the Grill, the social center of Gilead. This exceptional actress, who has won Academy, Tony, and Golden Globe awards, gives a real center to the film. With the arrival of ex- con Percy Talbot, portrayed by newcomer Alison Ellison, the town is thrown into an upheaval. Marcia Gay Harden gives a riveting performance as Shelby, Percy's ally and friend who has been beaten down by her self-righteous husband, Will Patton. The creativity and intelligence of the performances and the direction elevate this story to a level above the actual material. After all, it is just a story about a contest designed to sell the grill, right? "Spitfire Grill" is Lee David Zlotoff's feature-film debut and this bodes well for his future. Alison Ellison is now on the pages of "Movieline" magazine and I am certain her talent will carry her far. So if you are a little tired of the car chases and special effects, see "Spitfire Grill" for the very special effects of great acting, superior direction and the stark beauty of New England. Rated PG-13

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