Vanessa V. Friedman
April 14, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Big Stone Gap

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B-

In the tradition of The Bridges of Madison County, the schmaltzy backwoods love story Big Stone Gap — by TV writer-turned-novelist Adriana Trigiani — boasts a simplistic plot, flat characters, and cliched conflict; and like Bridges, it may well hit it big. In a small Blue Ridge Mountain town, Ave Maria Mulligan — pharmacist, drama coach, and member of the Rescue Squad — is facing not only her own spinsterhood but also the death of her mother. Then she finds out that the man she believed was her father was, in fact, her stepfather, and — boom! — a full-fledged midlife crisis ensues. Out of desperation Ave Maria decides to go in search of her past, forcing major relationship reassessments. Needless to say, Trigiani’s story concludes happily, with an embarrassingly satisfying, if predictable, result. Movie of the week, anyone? B-

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