(1999)3.5Derek ArmstrongTumbleweeds is a triumph of three creative talents playing against type: a Brit who does a dynamite Southern accent (Janet McTeer), a 14-year-old with the acting chops of an adult (Kimberly J. Brown), and a blue-collar beefcake from any truck stop in America, who also happens to be the film's director (Gavin O'Connor). Essentially a mother-daughter road movie, a character study played out over multiple states, Tumbleweeds exceeds its modest goals due to the outstanding work of these three. McTeer was nominated for Best Actress for her note-perfect performance of a shiftless party girl with a penchant for meeting the wrong men. Despite these drawbacks, Mary Jo is also a loving mother who treats her daughter like a playmate and equal, making for a richly complex dynamic between the two. Brown perfectly captures the difficult-to-act age of a girl wavering between child and teen, and O'Connor is strong as the latest lout in their lives, not half the stereotype he could have been, and sympathetic enough to justify Mary Jo's affection for him. It's a movie that examines the tiny tremors of daily life, and does so with a familiar touch. Jay O. Sanders is also memorable as the one suitor who might actually treat them well -- a character trait that initially gets him nowhere with Mary Jo, who seems addicted to abusive relationships.