Movie Review: ‘STRANGE WEATHER’ rains on Holly Hunter’s otherwise great performance


Kip Mooney // Film Critic

Rated R, 92 minutes.
Director: Katherine Dieckmann
Cast: Holly HunterCarrie CoonKim Coates and Glenne Headly

Holly Hunter will eventually be remembered as one of the best American actresses to ever grace the big screen. She’s been incredible in movies as varied as RAISING ARIZONA, THE PIANO and this year’s THE BIG SICK. And she brings her A-game once again. Too bad it’s for the forgettable STRANGE WEATHER.

Hunter plays Darcy, one of those eccentric Southern women that Kathy Bates used to specialize in playing. She’s got serious issues but such a big heart that everyone in this small town loves her. Her son – the light of her life – has been gone for several years. He took his own life, but a chance encounter with an old friend of his sets her wheels in motion.

Darcy discovers another friend of her son’s has gone on to make name for himself in New Orleans, running a chain of restaurants with the exact same idea her son had before he died. So she and her best friend (Carrie Coon) load into her pickup to drive down and confront him.

Indie road trip dramedies are a dime a dozen now, and aside from Hunter’s performance, there’s not much to distinguish this one from so many others. Just like them, it meanders so it can pad out a movie that’s barely 90 minutes long. The characters are all thinly drawn, so there’s even less substance.

But its biggest problem is it never feels authentic. Sure, there’s a plot and an understandable emotional drive, but it never connected with me in a real way. It all felt like it was going through the motions. Cameo from a talented actress: Check. Emotional reconnection with a person from the character’s past: That too. A final confrontation that feels anticlimactic: You bet.

The only reason to sit through it is Hunter, as radiant as ever. But there’s a long list of great Hunter performances, and most of them are in better movies than this.

Grade: C

STRANGE WEATHER opens in theaters and VOD on Friday (7/28). Dallas: AMC Grapevine.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.