Sally Field plays an older teen who has run away from her suburban home to be with her hippie boyfriend. This no-holds-barred television movie begins with her returning home in the middle of the night, walking up her block, into the driveway, going into the house where her family is asleep and climbing into her old childhood bed. Why did she leave in the first place? Take a look at her family: her parents are a society-party dream, but completely dysfunctional after the guests have gone home. Sally's younger sister is no better, fighting her folks over every little thing and popping pills on the side. There's an odd sequence midway through that has Field running down the street drawing ribbons in the air, but it doesn't detract from the realistic nature of the relationships or the film's uncompromising ending. One of the first films (TV-made or otherwise) to rip the lid off of American suburbia and its false sense of comfort and security. Despite some facile overacting here and there, it is a sharply-edited and well-realized piece.
Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring
Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring
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Dennie has returned from a year among the hippies to her superficial, image-conscious suburban family. She must face their disapproval of her actions. They refuse to even try to understand. She must also deal with an ex-lover, and a beloved young sister who is following in her footsteps, wanting the idealistic hippie life but making some rash decisions in the process.—Molly Malloy
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A Movie I Couldn't Forget
I, too, last saw this movie when it was shown as a TV movie in the early seventies but I have never forgotten it. The scenes around the swimming pool, the hitch-hiking scenes, Susie's confrontations with her parents. Seeing it recently I thought it was an excellent movie about a runaway, who returns home and after a couple of days realises why she left in the first place. 1970 was still awash with the "summer of love", yet the film is never preachy and avoids the "peace, love and happiness, who needs a job, pointing the finger at the establishment" heaviness. In many homes (my included) it was abide by our rules or leave - and many teenagers did.
Sally Fields plays Denise, who has come home disillusioned with the hippie life style adopted by her boyfriend, Flack (David Carradine) - begging for money in the streets, looking in garbage bins for food or eating cast off meals. She arrives home to hugs and kisses but it doesn't take her long to realise her parent's haven't changed and are driving her younger sister to repeat the same mistakes she made. Hollywood veterans Jackie Cooper and Eleanor Parker are great as the parents who are only calm when their children are conforming to their idea of normalcy. Denise is caught in the middle - knowing what life on the streets is like, she wants to conform, to be what her parents expect but she also wants to help Susie (Lane Bradbury). Susie is taking meths and Denise witnesses a huge showdown as the parents search frantically through her room - looking for drugs, but she has them steathily hidden in the medicine cabinet. There is a pointed scene at the doctors when Denise, after grudgingly confiding in the doctor, then realises that he is going to report back to her mother on their chat. I thought it was an excellent bit of acting by Fields as frightened and shaken, she knows things haven't changed.
There is a subplot that involves Flack, and his efforts to find Denise - stealing cars, a fumigation truck and even an ice cream van. At last he finds her and there is almost a mini explosion by the pool - everyone shouting, Flack, who is pleading with her to go with him to Canada, Susie, telling her to follow her heart and go with him, the parents telling everyone to sit down and shut up!! Denise goes inside to think but when she returns Flack has gone. Susie has gone as well, not with Flack but to become another "runaway". The film ends in a very down beat and sombre way. When all the recriminations and the tears have stopped, Denise, now the dutiful daughter, helps her mother with breakfast, pondering on the fact that after almost losing 2 daughters, her parents still do not realise their behaviour is to blame.
Sally in transition
A TV movie with excellent acting and a still timely message. Although the clothes and attitudes are dated the basic dilemma of misunderstanding between the generations is as true today as it was when this is made. Sally is strong in the lead, she was working hard at this time to leave Gidget and the Flying Nun behind which would take a few more years when Sybil moved her to the next level of respect, and captures the difficult transition period between teen rebellion and adult responsibility. Eleanor Parker and Jackie Cooper give good performances even though their characters are drawn in one dimensional tones. Not a great movie but a good one from when network TV tried to tackle controversial topics. Added bonus the soundtrack is by Linda Ronstadt, a rare occurrence.