Monaghan demonstrates an untapped level of talent and skill in Trucker, tackling the difficult role of a woman who refuses to behave as societal norms dictate and has paid the price with loneliness and alienation.
Monaghan conveys the character's boxed-in emotional conflicts through a flickering wariness and constricted body language. Diane seems hopeless, but the actress keeps us holding onto hope for her anyway.
Even if the film dutifully hits all the old notes, its characters are interesting, its California desert setting is novel, and its cast works hard. And not only is its star trying something new -- she's getting it wonderfully right.
In his tough-minded commitment to both his characters and to their lower-middle-class milieu, the filmmaker recasts his potentially disastrous material into something that feels emotionally honest, if not exactly revelatory.