Weighed down by her late husband's debts, widow Beth Macauley (Jessica Lange) is compelled to sell her home and move to a less costly locale. She relocates in Baltimore with her resentful sons Chris (Chris O'Donnell) and Matt (Charlie Korsmo) and takes a job at a ramshackle gourmet food store managed by Lisa Coleman (Kathy Bates). Men Don't Leave offers in Beth an extremely vulnerable, easily discouraged person who can't seem to get a grip on her reduced circumstances. Even so, she and her sons eventually pull themselves together, despite many side trips with Wrong Lovers and False Friends. Some of the film's best moments involve Joan Cusack, playing a mixed-up nurse with whom Chris falls in love. Representing the comeback of director Paul Brickman after a seven-year gap, Men Don't Leave is a slightly more upbeat American version of the French film La Vie Continue.
by Hal Erickson synopsis