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Miss Firecracker1989

  • 3.7
  • passes the bechdel test
Carnelle Scott is best-known in her hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi, for her unrepentant promiscuity. An orphan taken in by her genteel relatives, she idolizes her older cousin, Elain Rutledge, a former Fourth of July "Miss Firecracker" contest winner who is taking time out from her life as a pampered wife in Atlanta to give a speech on "My Life as a Beauty" at this year's pageant. Determined to follow in Elain's footsteps, Carnelle puts a damper on her libido and enlists the help of local seamstress Popeye Jackson in preparing for the pageant. She also implores Elain to let her borrow the red dress in which Elain won the contest in 1972. Meanwhile, Elain's brother, ne'er-do-well Delmount Williams, arrives with a get-rich-quick scheme that involves hocking the family estate. Into this mix steps Mac Sam, one of the men who contributed to Carnelle's scandalous past.

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"It is not about who wins the contest, but about how all beauty contests are about the need to be loved and about how silly a beauty contest can seem if somebody really loves you." - Roger Ebert


1 member likes this review

I love the way that the film sympathizes its characters without hiding their faults. I also love how the film ends on a bittersweet note that a lot of studio films try to avoid. There is such a great mix of sadness, humor, silliness and real emotion that the actors put forth especially Holly Hunter who does such a great job, you really root for her character to get everything she wants or Alfre Woodard who plays her character with such innocence.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (2)

145303.small
top reviewer

I love the way that the film sympathizes its characters without hiding their faults. I also love how the film ends on a bittersweet note that a lot of studio films try to avoid. There is such a great mix of sadness, humor, silliness and real emotion that the actors put forth especially Holly Hunter who does such a great job, you really root for her character to get everything she wants or Alfre Woodard who plays her character with such innocence.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

An excellent southern indie film with an uncanny charm. The actors work very hard to seriously play very unserious characters such as the Diogenes-type drifter, and the girl who seems to be frightfully embarassed at the pageant. When a fight breaks out she continues to play the piano while she sobs. The whole pageant is thoroughly entertaining weirdness. The southern environment and lush Louisiana accents create a pseudo-world in which the strange scripted interactions might seem plausible, this being a sort of foggy daydream of gulf culture.