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A movie directed by John Erman

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  • Jul 22, 2000
Pros: Strong family values

Cons: One parent homes

This is an oldie staring Bette Midler as an unwed bar waitress, John Goodman as the bar owner with a soft spot for Stella (Bette) and Stephen Collins as the father of Janie, Stella's baby.

The story is a reflection of Stella trying to give her child a good life but of course, she plays true to type - not quite the town tramp but on the border. I believe the turning point of the movie is Janie's 16th birthday party when the town mothers more or less keep their children away. Stella has a good heart, tries to succeed, but keeps landing flat on her fanny.

Eventually , Janie's father steps back into the picture and wants to give Janie a better life. He has become rich, lives well and can provide a solid education for Janie. Stella of course knows this is the right choice for her but does not want to let her go. Janie wants this new life, wants the opportunity to go to school and become a better person, but she doesn't want to leave Stella either.

John Goodman drifts in and out of their lives, basically as the town drunk. His influence is everything Janie does not want in her life or her mothers. You feel he has a good heart, has good intentions, but there is that drinking ...... Stella knows the only way she can get Janie to go to live with her father is by accepting Goodman into her life, thus turning Janie away.

It is painful to watch Stella try so hard to make a good life for Janie, she is so full of love for her. They have such a wonderful relationship, you really want their life to run a smooth course. The father (Collins) loves the girl as well. This leaves Janie torn between the love of her parents. Stella is so pitiful traipsing around in her pink outfit selling her pitiful cosmetics to other pitiful women, just to get money to give her daughter the life she deserves.

I am not going to tell anymore of the plot this story. If you are going to see it, you should enjoy the entire story, if you are not ..... you just will never know how it ends, will you?

It's a jerker, of course. Typical chick flick but I think it is a good movie for anyone to see. It is a movie that gives you a peek into the trials and tribulations of one parent homes. It makes you root for the bad guy (Stella) and the good guy (also Stella). Hey and guess what? No violence, no guns, no drugs, light swearing. John Goodman is unbelievable in his role!


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Bette Midler stars in the title role of "Stella," a 1990's update of two previous tearjerkers. Brassy barmaid Stella Claire charms the pants off blueblood Stephen Dallas, and eventually they have a child. Because of their different values and personalities, Stella and Stephen do not marry. She, however, decides to raise their daughter, Jenny, by herself. Although the feisty mother and Jenny have a warm, if sometimes tense, relationship, Stella realizes she must give away her girl to a wealthy man if Jenny is to enjoy all that life has to offer. This, however, would mean parting company with her lovely daughter.
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Director: John Erman
Release Date: 1989
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Buena Vista Home Entertainment (April 08, 2003)
Runtime: 1hr 49min
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