What keeps Trucker afloat is indeed the portrayal of a female trucker and all that signifies - the yearning for independance and being your own person, beholden to no-one but yourself. This is what makes this film rise above a throwaway, as though, yes, you've seen this plot before, but never in this way.
Michelle Monaghan is very solid and carries the film well and the child actor does an adequit job of portraying the bitterness and false bravado necessary of the role.
But... a few things I found disconcerting. First, there's an overly long scene at the VFW with Monaghan and her neighbor dancing - ok, we get the message, now move on - no reason for a 5 minute segment showing the two having some fun - could have had the same effect in 1-2 minutes tops. Certainly a "filler" moment for me.
Then there is the constant reference to Monaghan's "beauty" - including a bit of dialog about her chest. To each their own I suppose, but she's certainly not chesty and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it didn't do the film any favors to keep harping on it. Besides, the film would be making a much better statement if it would have allowed that Monaghan's charactor was catnip because she was such a free spirit instead of some kind of beauty queen. It would have fit the flavor of the film much, much better; I'm just saying...
DIRECTED BY: James Mottern
SUMMARY: Michelle Monaghan stars as a self-reliant trucker forced to take on the responsibility of caring for her 11-year-old son when his father (Benjamin Bratt) ends up in the hospital.
MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the slow pace of this movie. It made every bit of it feel more real. But if not for the great cast and their performances, this could have went really wrong. But thankfully everyone was great in this film. Especially Michelle Monaghan. She really did a fantatic job at making her character real and relatable. Jimmy Bennett as the son was great. He really held his own in this film. Nathan Fillion brought some comedy releif, which was needed in this drama. Benjamin Bratt just breaks my heart in the last scene he is in with Jimmy Bennett. Just a really great movie. Hope more see it.
Actually, that ambiguity is one of Trucker's strengths. The characters may be a little broad at times, but James Mottern never lets on as to why these people behave like they do, or what brought them to their current circumstances. Considering the rest of the movie's expository heaviness, the unusual mysteries behind Diane and her son are basically what propel the movie into watchability. Ultimately I was a little disappointed with Trucker, as it's a lot more conventional than I would have hoped for, and not quite the star-making turn from Monaghan that people like Ebert had trumpeted. Still, it's not terrible, and if you're interested in the subject matter then a watch can't hurt.
Michelle Monaghan plays Diane, a trucker who lives life by her rules until one unexpected day her 11-year old son, Peter, gets dropped off because his father (Benjamin Bratt) has cancer and is in the hospital.
Aided by an emotionally raw performance from Michelle Monaghan, "Trucker" is a low-key character study that is thankfully not a referendum on whether women can drive trucks, since of course they can. Throughout the film, we are informed of her past in bits and pieces, becoming quite clear how tough she has gotten out of necessity over the years while not judging her. As much as she wants to control the timetable of her life, Diane has to remember that nobody is ever fully in control of their destiny. So, it is a good thing that she is never as totally alone as she thinks she is.
Monaghan had a good chemistry with Jimmy Bennett who played her son in the film. Nathan Fillion, Benjamin Bratt, and Joey Lauren Adams provide solid supporting work. The only negative is that the pacing is off. However, cause of the acting being really good, I didn't mind the pacing being off like I normally would. I definitely recommend this film, especially to catch Monaghan's performance.
The disconnection of the mother, the fact that she had the ability to leave her baby son. I could not stand the character Diane on one level because she is obviously unbelievably selfish and self-destructive. Yet, on another level, I felt great compassion for her. All mothers whether they admit to it or not, fear being unable to establish meaningful connections with their children. This is the story of a mother who not only did not connect with her child, but abandoned him. Michelle Monaghan's character is a big drinker and uses men to fill her emptiness, which made it even more difficult to watch but at the same time made it even more riveting. As I was watching, I wanted to see myself as different than Diane, but there are self-destructive parts of her every woman struggles to face. Even though I have made much different decisions than Diane, this film made me feel I could not judge the character or her decisions. In my opinion, we are all just a few twists of fate from despair and brokenness though we will do most anything not to acknowledge that.
I was shocked to see this is the first film by director James Mottern. I am looking forward to seeing what other movies he has coming up. He obviously directed the pants off Michelle Monaghan (I had never heard of her before this film and when I looked her up saw she had mostly played forgettable supporting roles). I am a big Nathan Fiillion fan and really enjoyed his scenes. I do wish he had had a bigger role. Overall, I highly recommend this film but make sure you have kleenex on hand.