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Monaghan Drives Trucker

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 7, 2009 at 10:40AM

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.
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Thompson on Hollywood

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.

IFC.com talks to Mottern, and Latino Review talks to Monaghan.

[Photo of Monaghan by Henny Garfunkel.]

This article is related to: Awards, Independents, Reviews, Indies, Oscars, Indie Spirits


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.