This popped up on my Recommended list yesterday when I started browsing my Amazon Prime movie Watchlist. I checked out the trailer and was immediately hooked, and the movie did not disappoint. If you remember and liked Ouiser Boudreaux from "Steel Magnolias", you'll like Shirley MacLaine's character here - a gentler, kinder version of Ouiser, but still a strong character.
Harriet is a tough old broad, having come into the business world in the 1950s where women had to work twice as hard as men to make it. As such, she became a control freak to make sure things were done her way. Harriet's now in the twilight of her life, and wants to be remembered as someone who did something with her life. So she "hires" the obit writer for the local paper to write her obit while she's still alive (there's that control freak side coming out again!). Amanda Seyfried plays the obit writer's role perfectly - someone at the start of her career....who doesn't know what that career is supposed to be.
The female characters are all strong women - and this includes the young girl who plays Brenda, the young girl that Harriet chooses to mentor as the person's life she will have touched and made better. She's hysterical in her snappy comebacks with both Harriet and anyone else who gets in her way. The supporting cast (Anne Heche, Thomas Sadowski, Philip Baker Hall, Gedde Watanabe, and Tom Everett Scott) are all spot on in their roles as uptight daughter, radio station manager, ex-husband, gardener and newspaper editor.
Ultimately, this is a movie about unexpected friendship and family...family where blood isn't the tie that binds, but that unexpected friendship is.