Audrey's Rain (2003)
A Second Chance at First Love
As a movie reviewer it is easy to get lost in the world of technicality, how well a story worked, how characters developed, how believable something was and you lose sight on what is probably the most important factor, how entertaining a movie was. And that is the thing about "Audrey's Rain" because it is a charming and entertaining little Hallmark drama which whilst full of issues never detract from it being a pleasant and often beautiful movie. Now there is a bit of irony to this because in fairness "Audrey's Rain" is a real mixed bag of ideas; there is a woman who gave up on love to look after her sisters, there is her niece and nephew who miss their mum, her old boyfriend who shows up again in town, it is a varied mix which don't really gel. But in this imperfection "Audrey's Rain" works because to expand on these elements would force it to be drawn out and removing some would make it incomplete.
After her mother died Audrey Walker (Jean Smart - The Kid) looked after her sisters Bess and handicapped Marguerite (Kathleen Wilhoite) sacrificing her relationship with boyfriend Terry (Richard Gilliland) to do so. Many years later and Audrey, having never married, is still looking after Marguerite but also Bess's children Charlotte (Kristina Malota) and Tye (Angus T. Jones) after Bess couldn't cope and committed suicide. But despite the help of best friend Missy (Carol Kane - Scrooged) Audrey is only just getting by and having had to grow up quickly as a child expects the same of Charlotte and Tye. But then Terry returns to town and back into her life, the question is after all these years can Audrey change and allow him back in.
Now here is the thing about "Audrey's Rain" it has a lot going on, none of which is complex but for a movie which is only 84 minutes there is more than you would expect and it doesn't really gel. All of these things come down to relationships Audrey's relationship with Terry, Charlotte and Tye, Missy as well as Marguerite. But then there is Charlotte struggling to deal with her mum's suicide, Audrey feeling guilty about Bess committing suicide, plus feeling like she isn't a mother despite having been one all her life. And of course we have Terry re-entering Audrey's life and bringing some romance back into it and the question of whether she can accept him back. It is a lot for this sort of movie and none of it has any real depth or realism.
But the daft thing is that this by being imperfect "Audrey's Rain" works because if the storyline had been fleshed out to build depth and realism it would have made it feel drawn out. And to remove elements would have been just as wrong because it is in the variety of characters and issues that it remains entertaining. I could say the same for several unrealistic scenes such as after a picnic Terry and Audrey behave like children and dive into a mud puddle because it does in a way establish that Terry brings fun back into Audrey's life and whilst unrealistic is a fun scene. So in its strangely imperfect, incomplete way "Audrey's Rain" works it keeps you watching as it jumps from one issue or relationship to another.
The other thing that "Audrey's Rain" has is an infectious spirit, it is fun, quirky, charming and pleasant and if you like movies which are playful, pleasant and inoffensive it will be right up your street. Now the reason for this is some great casting from Carol Kane as best friend Missy to Angus T. Jones as young Tye. But the really great bit of casting is in husband and wife Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart because as Terry and Audrey they are great, they deliver fun characters and it is little surprise that there is great chemistry and warmth between them.
What this all boils down to is that "Audrey's Rain" achieves what many movies set out to do and that is be entertaining. The fact it is technically messy and disjointed with no real character development and some unbelievable scenes which occasionally border on the corny ends up being unimportant as the fun, romantic, quirky and overall pleasant drama makes you smile.
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