Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Spitfire Grill

Upon her release from prison, Percy (Elliott) chooses to relocate to the tiny town of Gilead, Maine. Even though she has no cooking experience, the sheriff (Walsh) arranges for her to help out at the Spitfire Grill, whose elderly owner, Hannah (Burstyn), is no longer able to handle on her own. Despite the residents’ reluctance to embrace newcomers or change of any sort, Percy perseveres in trying to create a new existence for herself and in the process changes the lives of everyone she encounters.

The Spitfire Grill is no fancy restaurant—it’s a “short order” grill, serving up bacon and eggs and toast, pancakes, or oatmeal for breakfast, soup and burgers and fries for lunch and dinner. It’s basic, hearty fare for people who lead no-frills lives: reliable and consistent, even predictable, as they prefer. She learns quickly, but Percy’s first few days on cooking duty cause many of the customers to question their loyalty to the grill; fortunately for the longevity of the Spitfire Grill, there’s no other eating establishment in town.

Released 1996
Written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff

Starring Alison Elliott as Percy Talbott, Ellen Burstyn as Hannah Ferguson, Marcia Gay Harden as Shelby Goddard, Will Patton as Nahum Goddard, Kieran Mulroney as Joe Sperling, Gailard Sartain as Sheriff Gary Walsh, John M. Jackson as Johnny B./Eli, and Louise De Cormier as Effy Katshaw

Awards: 1998 Australian Cinematographers Society Award of Distinction for Feature Productions Cinema; 1997 Christopher Award for Motion Pictures; 1996 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Dramatic

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