Archive for the ‘The Spitfire Grill (1996)’ Tag

The Spitfire Grill (1996)   Leave a comment

Spitfire Grill 01

Above:  Percy Talbott, Seeking a Second Chance

All images in this post are screen captures I took via PowerDVD.

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THE SPITFIRE GRILL (1996)

Starring

Alison Elliott as Perchance “Percy” Talbott

Ellen Burstyn as Hannah Ferguson

Marcia Gay Harden as Shelby Goddard

Will Patton as Nahum Goddard

John M. Jackson as Eli Ferguson

Kieran Mulroney as Joe Sperling

Directed by Lee David Zlotoff

Rated PG-13

117 Minutes

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Is there no balm in Gilead,

no physician there?

Why has no new skin grown over their wound?

–Jeremiah 8:22, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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The Spitfire Grill (1996) is a remarkable, low-key movie with themes such as judging improperly, forgiving, reconciling, and healing.  It exists largely due to a Roman Catholic organization, Sacred Heart Southern Missions, Walls, Mississippi, which provides social services and applied its profits from from the film toward a school.  The main character is a wounded healer.  As Father Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote in his 1972 book, The Wounded Healer:  Ministry in Contemporary Society (1972), wounds can become sources of healing.

The movie is the story of Perchance “Percy” Talbott, a young woman recently released from prison, and Gilead, Maine, a dying small town.  Percy has a difficult past, but she hopes to start over in Gilead.  Most of the residents are willing to welcome her, at least after an initial phase of distrust, but Nahum Goddard, who is carrying a large load of guilt, suspects the worst about her during most of the narrative.

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Above:  Nahum Goddard

Percy works at the town’s restaurant and site of social interaction, which elderly and cranky Hannah Ferguson operates.  As the sheriff, who states simply that Percy has paid her debt to society, tells Hannah, she needs the help.

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Above:  Hannah Ferguson

Perhaps Percy’s most enthusiastic supporter in the town is Shelby, the long-suffering wife of Nahum.

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Above:  Shelby Goddard

Percy becomes a positive influence in the town.  She functions as the catalyst for the revival of Gilead as she struggles with her guilt and the suspicions other people harbor.  Meanwhile, Joe Sperling, a young man with his own family problems, extends unconditional love to her.  Percy also helps Hannah accomplish a major goal which Nahum has failed to accomplish.  Our main protagonist also facilitates the reunion of Hannah with Eli, her reclusive son who lives in the woods behind the restaurant.

Providing a thorough plot summary is not among my purposes in this post.  No, watching this movie attentively provides much spiritual food for thought.  Not knowing the full story prior to watching the movie for the first time is an asset, I think, for discovering the depth of the movie for oneself is a wonderful thing to do.  Identifying aspects of the film one had missed during previous viewings is also edifying.  I will however, provide two hints relevant to the end of the movie:  Percy is the Christ figure.  Her legacies to the town include reconciliation and a better future.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

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THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, UNITARIAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA