Digging to China – Review

by Ken B.

Digging to China, at one point, comes to be nearly unendurable. If it wasn’t for those strong performances from our lead actors, this would have been an utter waste of anything anyone wants in a movie.

How this became a theatrical release and not some kind of movie you see on the Lifetime Network or the Hallmark Channel is beyond me. It seems catered to that kind of storytelling style – except with, again, reasonably good acting.

Harriet (EVAN RACHEL WOOD, in her debut performance) is a 10 year old girl who lives with her alcoholic mother (CATHY MORIARITY) and her sunken older sister (MARY STUART MASTERSON). They run a motel where the rooms are cabins designed like teepees, which Harriet’s mother refers to as a “divorce present”.

One day, Ricky (KEVIN BACON), a mentally disabled man and his ill-stricken mother (MARIAN SELDES) check in to the motel. Harriet quickly becomes friends with Ricky, but her family isn’t too enthusiastic about their friendship.

Harriet has always harbored a longing to run away from home, and she gets the opportunity after her mother dies in a car accident. We assume how it happened, and is later implicitly confirmed, that it is her drunken tendency to drive on the wrong side of the road that does her in.

And then, such and such and such… I can’t remember… No, seriously, at the time of writing this, about 18 hours after first viewing it, this movie is actually largely forgettable. But it’s still bad. I know it’s bad. I can remember a broad outline of the whole movie and I didn’t really enjoy more than ten percent of it. At one point, with the draggy pacing and the depthless characters, I found the only full thoughts that I had on the movie to be “Please end… please end… please end…”

But all that aside, you must give the movie credit for not going the Nicholas Sparks approach to emotional drama… you know, so many pointless triggers just to make the audience tear up, no, this movie allows some breathing room, and at times too much, where it lets the viewers’ minds wander about, and away from a story that really never had anywhere to go to begin with… So, I guess that wasn’t really credit.