Wrestling with Alligators

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Wrestling with Alligators ★★½ 1998

Quiet, coming-of-ager stars Palladino as Maddy, a teenager escaping a tragic past in Florida and finding comfort in her newfound friends at an all-female boarding house on the New Jersey shore in 1959. Lulu's Look Out offers the tough teenager a place to find herself, with the help of proprietor Lulu (Bloom), an eccentric silent-screen star, and residents Mary (Shelly), an artist, and the beautiful Claire (Richardson), a French war widow. Tomboy Maddy finds herself attracted to a man for the first time when she meets carnival worker Will (Trammell). Then, when Claire becomes pregnant by the local garage owner (Sanders), Maddy finds herself growing up even more as she comes to the aid of her newfound family, which is beginning to show signs of serious strain. Unassuming portrait of four very different women is a worthy effort, with the leads displaying convincing chemistry. 95m/C VHS, DVD . Aleksa Palladino, Joely Richardson, Claire Bloom, Adrienne Shelly, Sam Trammell, Jay O. Sanders, Tom Guiry, Sloane Shelton, Angelica Torn, Schuyler Grant; D: Laurie Weltz; W: Laurie Weltz; C: Richard Dallett; M: Andrew Hollander.