As movies go, Virginia is a misfire. The film concerns a woman with psychological problems, her married lover and her 16-year-old son, but the tale wobbles between humour and drama in a disconcerting fashion.
In sections narrated by her teenage son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson), Virginia (Jennifer Connelly) is introduced as a woman diagnosed as schizophrenic in adolescence. She has never married; Emmett says he was born when she was about 16 herself, and the two of them have stitched together a life for themselves. Virginia works driving a kiddie train at the amusement park in their town.
Her lover is the local sheriff, Dick Tipton (Ed Harris), a man running for higher political office. Sheriff Tipton is married, but he and Virginia have been lovers so long that Emmett suspects the sheriff might be his dad. Turns out he isn't, which gives Emmett the green light to act on his attraction to the Sheriff's daughter (Emma Roberts).
Now that the sheriff has his eye on a bigger prize, Virginia isn't really someone he can afford to have in his life. And he certainly isn't going to stand by and watch Virginia's son try to date his daughter.
Virginia is film about love, ambition, hypocrisy and the American Dream, and if the main character had only been written to make sense, the film might have worked. As it is, the movie isn't a total disaster, but that's because the cast is amazing. It includes Amy Madigan as Sheriff Tipton's quiet wife and Toby Jones as the vaguely pervy owner of the amusement park.
Virginia rolled through town at the 2010 TIFF under the name What's Wrong With Virginia and has been re-edited since. More Movie Reviews