A 1985 film directed by Peter Masterson, adapted by screenwriter Horton Foote from his own 1953 teleplay of the same name.
The setting is late-1940s Texas. Carrie Wright (Geraldine Page) is an elderly widow who lives in a small apartment in Houston with her son, Ludie (John Heard), and daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn). The two women don't get along, as Jessie Mae is annoyed by Ms. Wright's tendency to run in the house and sing hymns, while Ms. Wright doesn't shy away from snooping through her daughter-in-law's space.
Feeling exasperated and suffocated, Ms. Wright has a habit of trying to run away to her childhood hometown of Bountiful. She always gets caught, however, by Ludie or Jessie Mae before she can make it out of station.
This time, however, Ms. Wright meets a young stranger named Thelma (Rebecca De Mornay) who's going back to her parents' home and decides to help her get to Bountiful. They ride the bus together and share their stories and worries, discussing the meaning of hope, trust, and relationships.
But when they arrive at the last stop before Bountiful, Ms. Wright has to come to terms that her idyllic memories of the town are long outdated; Bountiful has become a derelict Ghost Town, with the last occupant and her best friend passing away just a couple days before. Still, she's resolved to pay her last tributes to the town and see it while she can, regardless of what she may find there.
The movie earned Geraldine Page multiple nominations and won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Bittersweet Ending: Carrie gets to see her hometown for the last time but it has turned desolate and everyone she knew has died. She must also come come back to her son's home and live with Jessie Mae, but they are making efforts to live together more amiably.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Ms. Wright has to fight and outwit people to get back to Bountiful.
- Elder Abuse: Jessie Mae's actions can be seen as this, frequently chiding Carrie for her habits in a less-than-kind manner.
- Farmer's Daughter: Carrie when she was young.
- Good Samaritan: Thelma, who helps Carrie as far as she can.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Carrie and Thelma, as depicted in the poster.
- The Great Depression: What caused Bountiful's fall.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jessi Mae, who, despite her irritability, still cares of Carrie's well-being as seen when Carrie had a fit and by one of the rules she set near the end of the movie.
- Just Following Orders: What the cop says when he refuses to let Carrie go to Bountiful.
- Like My Daughter Had She Survived: Carrie says this to Thelma.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: How Carrie and Jessie Mae see each other.
- One Last Field Trip: Subverted as it's done by an elderly woman, but the spirit's the same. She wants to see it one last time while she can so she won't have any regrets.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Carrie had two children: a son and a daughter.
- Road Trip Plot: It's even in the title.
- The Runaway: Once again, done by the elderly Carrie Wright instead of a youngster.
- Sweet Home Alabama: How Carrie remembers Bountiful.
- The Sheriff: A good one who drives Carrie to Bountiful after her pleas.
- You Remind Me Of Him: Ludie reminds Carrie of her own father.