Critics Consensus

The amazing cast of Bonneville is paired up with a basic, predictable script and lackluster direction.



Total Count: 40


Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,897
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Movie Info

A woman looking to fulfill her late husband's final wish sets out on a transformative cross-country road trip in director Christopher N. Rowley's warmhearted tale of friendship, self-discovery, and the memories that make life worth living even after the ones we love have gone. Arvilla (Jessica Lange)'s husband Joe has recently died during a trip to Borneo, and his ashes have just arrived at her home in Pocatello, ID. Though Joe had previously specified in his will that he would like his ashes scattered by his beloved wife, the well-intending Arvilla soon becomes locked in a heated battle of wills with Francine (Christine Baranski) -- Joe's well-to-do daughter from a previous marriage. Francine is determined to see her father laid to rest next to her mother in Santa Barbara, and she's threatened to sell the house that her father and Arvilla have lived in since marrying to ensure that she gets her way. Now Arvilla has lost Joe's will, leaving no way to confirm either what he wanted done with his remains or what Arvilla is to receive upon her husband's death. Defeated, Arvilla sets her sights on Santa Barbara to surrender the ashes to Francine and attempt to come to terms with the loss of her husband. When Arvilla's sassy best-friend Margene (Kathy Bates) and uptight pal Carol (Joan Allen) agree to join their recently-widowed friend on her journey and offer some much-needed moral support, the trio soon sets out in Arvilla's vintage '66 Pontiac Bonneville for a journey of a lifetime. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Jessica Lange
as Arvilla Holden
Kathy Bates
as Margene Cunningham
Joan Allen
as Carol Brimm
Christine Baranski
as Francine Holden Packard
Tom Skerritt
as Emmett L. Johnson
Victor Rasuk
as Bo Douglas
Tom Amandes
as Bill Packard
Tom Wopat
as Arlo Brimm
Ivey Lloyd
as Evelyn Brimm
Evan May
as Robert Brimm
Erin May
as Lauren Brimm
Robert Conder
as Taxi Driver
Bruce Newbold
as Bishop Evans
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Critic Reviews for Bonneville

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16)

Audience Reviews for Bonneville

  • Aug 13, 2010
    Far be it for a man to stop and ask for direction but Bonneville charted this reviewer on a familiar but sometimes welcome course, diverted away from a tourist trap called popcorn blockbusters. The movie does not aspire to reverse the effects of Global Warming or end the conflict in Darfur. Rather, in a film age brimming with expensively drawn superheroes and bullet-ridden sequels, it simply sets out to tell an original feel-good tale and does it kinda sorta well. This soul-searching road trip movie does, however, employ a lot of formula and not a lot of dramatic punch, focusing on a largely ignored demographic. In this PG-13-rated drama, a newly widowed Idaho woman (Lange) sets off on a road trip with her friends (Bates, Joan Allen) to deliver the ashes of her deceased husband to a mean-spirited stepdaughter (Christine Baranski). It begins amidst death, yes. But debut writer/director Christopher N. Rowley quickly (and smartly) whisks moviegoers away from this maudlin fog and sets the wheels a-turning early on. Humor proves to be the best medicine and the script injects the action with just enough to douse the funereal setting. The story ultimately conveys that honoring life is, perhaps, more important than honoring death. But the age of the characters makes this lesson timelier. Though far from ‘old,’ the mature casting rejects any notion that road tripping is only for the young. All involved drive home the point that the search for oneself is a lifelong quest. Unfortunately, the standard material sometimes makes this viewing experience FEEL like a lifelong quest. Bottom line: A road to nowhere special.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2010
    It was cute, but not great. Good cast, but it wasn't really anything special.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2009
    Cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Tom Skerritt, Christine Baranski, Victor Rasuk, Tom Amandes, Tom Wopat, Robert Conder, Jayson Creek, Arabella Field, Kristen Marie Hullinger, Ivey Lloyd, Bruce Newbold, Steve O'Neill, Laura Park, Jodi Russell Director: Christopher N. Rowley Summary: This road trip yarn, follows three friends on a journey across the West after one of them is widowed. Along the way, they learn a thing or two about themselves, one another and life. My Thoughts: " This film has three very talented leading ladies in it, Kathy Bates being my favorite. Arvilla is the adventurous one, Carol is the goody two-shoes, and Margene is the free spirited one. Together they all make for a good watch. The acting is strong and the story is as well. But there is no action no great adventure. BUT, I still enjoyed it. I felt like I was peeking in on the friendship of three best friends and enjoying the trip with them. Christine Baranski plays the daughter to the deceased and is a very unlikeable character. She has no sympathy for Arvilla Holden and is quite cruel to her. But then you have to sympathize with her just a tiny bit cause she too, is also grieving. This movie is not going to be for everyone, especially those who don't really like character driven stories. But I enjoyed it and thought it was time well spent."
  • Sep 23, 2009
    This movie is Thelma and Louise with less theatrics. Not as good as T & L, but fun nonetheless.
    Red L Super Reviewer

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