Jayne Mansfield's Car
|Jayne Mansfield's Car|
|Directed by||Billy Bob Thornton|
|Produced by||Alexander Rodnyansky|
|Written by||Billy Bob Thornton|
Billy Bob Thornton
|Music by||Owen Easterling Hatfield|
|Edited by||Lauren Zuckerman|
Media Talent Group
|Distributed by||Anchor Bay Films|
Jayne Mansfield's Car is a 2012 drama film directed by Billy Bob Thornton, marking his first directing job since 2001's Daddy and Them. Thornton also stars alongside Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Ray Stevenson, Frances O'Connor, Ron White, and Robert Patrick. The film had its world premiere at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012. The film was released in limited release on September 13, 2013.
One of the locations in which the movie was shot is Cedartown, Georgia, USA. Exterior home shots were filmed in Troup County, Georgia, while additional scenes were shot in Decatur, Georgia. For the Greek Revival home, the interior shots were filmed at The Bailey-Tebault House located in Griffin, Georgia.
The film is set in 1969 Morrison, Alabama. The Caldwell family includes three World War II veterans—brothers played by Thornton, Bacon and Patrick—their sister Donna (LaNasa), and a patriarch, Jim Caldwell (Duvall), who is a World War I veteran. The Caldwells are involved in a cultural clash with the Bedfords, a family which includes Phillip (Stevenson), a World War II veteran, his sister Camilla (O'Connor), and their father Kingsley (Hurt), also a World War I veteran.
The Bedfords are a London family in Morrison for the funeral of Kingsley's wife, who is the ex-wife of Jim Caldwell and the mother of Caldwell's children. Duvall described the film in an interview as "putting Tennessee Williams in the back seat".
The film's title refers to the automobile in which movie star Jayne Mansfield was supposedly decapitated in 1967. When a nearby town has a side show displaying the vehicle, Jim Caldwell takes Kingsley Bedford along to gawk at the grisly artifact.
- Robert Duvall as Jim Caldwell
- John Hurt as Kingsley Bedford
- Billy Bob Thornton as Skip Caldwell
- Kevin Bacon as Carroll Caldwell
- Robert Patrick as Jimbo Caldwell
- Ray Stevenson as Phillip Bedford
- Frances O'Connor as Camilla Bedford
- Katherine LaNasa as Donna Baron
- Marshall Allman as Alan Caldwell
- Shawnee Smith as Vicky Caldwell
- John Patrick Amedori as Mickey Caldwell
- Ron White as Neil Barron
- Irma P. Hall as Dorothy Lambert
- Carissa Capobianco as April Barron
- Karli Barnett as Autumn Barron
- Tippi Hedren as Naomi Caldwell (uncredited; her scenes were cut)
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 36% approval rating with an average rating of 5.4/10, based on 36 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Jayne Mansfield's Car assembles an impressive number of talented actors, but the screenplay — co-written by director and star Billy Bob Thornton — never gives them much of anything to do." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave credit to the film's "star-laden" cast, commending the presences of Duvall, Hurt and Thornton but was critical of its "overlong" runtime. PopMatters contributor J.C. Macek III found criticism in Thornton's unfocused direction of the multiple stories and the screenplay being more suited for a mini-series than a condensed two hour film filled with vignettes. He did however gave praise to the performances for adding substance to their given arcs, singling out Bacon, O'Connor and White as the highlights. Norm Schrager from Paste commended Thornton's direction for bringing out great performances from the cast and his scenes having competent execution but felt the film overall suffered from "a distinctive lack of cohesiveness" throughout the script in its handling of plot concepts and themes, concluding that, "[T]here’s something here. It just needs a clearer road to travel." Alonso Duralde of TheWrap also voiced problems with Thornton and Epperson's screenplay, calling it "too sprawling and [too] tidy" with its generational family drama and misuse of plot devices towards the third act. Claudia Puig of USA Today felt the familial themes were elevated by "intriguingly impressionistic cinematography and a strong ensemble cast", but criticized the characterization of both families for containing stereotypical rednecks and stuffy aristocrats that conduct "tedious monologues and theatrical speechifying" and the misuse of the film's title for lacking "insight and depth." She concluded that: "Self-indulgent, heavy-handed and lumbering, Jayne Mansfield's Car is not a wreck, but it's certainly a vehicle for boredom."
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- Lumenick, Lou (September 13, 2013). "'Jayne Mansfield's Car' a wreck". New York Post. News Corp. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- Macek III, J.C. (February 14, 2014). "'Jayne Mansfield's Car' at the Fringe of the Family". PopMatters. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- Schrager, Norm (September 26, 2013). "Jayne Mansfield's Car". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
- Duralde, Alonso (September 13, 2013). "'Jayne Mansfield's Car' Review: Overloaded Star Vehicle Tends to Drag". TheWrap. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- Puig, Claudia (September 12, 2013). "Family Drama 'Jayne Mansfield's Car' stalls out". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved June 15, 2019.