Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman in Anywhere But Here © 20th Century Fox
Mona Simpson’s ambitious first novel, Anywhere But Here, tells the story of an eccentric mother and her practical daughter who move to Beverly Hills in search of a better life, while struggling to accept each other’s disparate views and aspirations.
In 1999, screenwriter Alvin Sargent (other works include Julia, Ordinary People, The Amazing Spider-Man) and director Wayne Wang (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, The Joy Luck Club) joined forces to adapt Simpson’s novel for the big screen. The film stars Susan Sarandon, as the flamboyant and zealous Adele August – a resident of the Midwest, then the East Coast, but mostly of her own imagination – and Natalie Portman as her much more acclimated, down-to-earth daughter. The role earned Portman her first Golden Globe nomination.
The film is a charming story about ”a mother who knows best, and a daughter who knows better.” If you’ve not seen it or read it, consider it recommended.