Director Dan Ireland ("Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont," co-founder of Seattle International Film Festival) uses a story by E. L. Doctorow ("Rag- time") to bring us a fifteen-year-old girl who marries a boy to get away from an abusive foster home. Problem is, she jumps from the frying pan into the fire.

Over the next ten years, we encounter:
  • Jessica Chastain (Winner of 2008 Golden Space Needle for Best Actress, SIFF) as our eponymous heroine. This actress ages from age 15 to 25 and plays everything from a high school student to a pole dancer in a strip joint; from a Tulsa housewife to a glamorous redhead kept by a Vegas kingpin. This is a dream role for any actress and Chastain is amazing.
  • Zeb Newman (lots of TV) is her gawky first husband; he is the frying pan...
  • Dermot Mulroney ("The Wedding Date") is Uncle Phil; he is the fire (see above).
  • Frances Fisher (Lots of TV) works in a mental hospital (don't ask!).
  • Rupert Friend ("Pride and Prejudice" - 2005) is another husband, a randy musician with a tattoo parlor.
  • Chazz Palminteri ("Modern Family") lives in a Las Vegas pent- house.
  • Michael Vartan ("Rogue") is her wealthy Tulsa husband. He doesn't want to know a thing about her past....until he does....
This is an R-rated study of a resilient little gal who is the epitome of grit and determination, AND she washes up nice! This film was made in 2008, so even though I saw it at a theatrical press screening this week, it is already in on-line catalogs, and might be available on Netflix or in your local library.

This review was first posted 11/5/10 and I've been following Jessica Chastain's career ever since. She's phenominal.