Former Slamdance Film fest producer James Mottern wrote and directed Trucker, an unpretentious, tough little movie that debuted at Tribeca in 2008 and is finally getting a modest release this week, starting in New York. The movie is about an independent young truck-driver (Michelle Monaghan) who is happiest when she's in the cab of her semi. She married at 18, had a baby, and then left her family behind. Sure enough, a decade later she has to face that kid when his father gets sick.
Mottern directs this straightforward relationship drama about a tough, isolated woman without melodrama or sentiment. It's not a romance, although Nathan Fillian is fine as Monaghan's love interest. It's more of a coming-of-age story about a mother learning how to connect with her kid. I'd take this one over The Boys Are Back any day.
While Monaghan makes the most of a juicy role, I doubt that the Oscar buzz surrounding this film will land her a nomination. She probably has as good a chance as Clive Owen of winding up in the Oscar derby, because the movie won't be widely seen. Maybe the Indie Spirits will come through with a nomination, as they did for Wendy and Lucy's Michelle Williams last year.
[Photo of Monaghan by Henny Garfunkel.]