Juanita is a really great feel-good movie that is perfect if you just want to watch something nice. Forget the action, forget the high drama. This is just a beautiful story about one woman's search for something more out of life.
Starring the always wonderful Alfre Woodward, Juanita is a struggling single mother of three grown-up children. One son is in prison, the other is halfway there and her daughter, also a single mother, dropped out of school. Doing her best, she works hard and takes solace in her fantasies of Blair Underwood. These are really funny as Blair Underwood plays himself in this role. But when even her fantasies let her down, Juanita decides it's time for a change.
So she packs her things and heads to the bus station. Randomly picking a place on a map she buys a ticket for Montana. Her first stop isn't particularly impressive but she soon befriends a truck driver named Peaches who offers to bring her somewhere nicer. And that's how Juanita ends up in Paper Moon.
Experiencing a whole new world, away from the daily grind, Juanita soon settles into Montana life. She gets a part-time job in a local restaurant working for Jess, played by Adam Beach. And is much loved by the locals for both her cooking and her straight-talking personality.
And before you go thinking this is just another Hallmark-style movie, it isn't. Juanita is on a journey and she isn't about to give it all up for a nice town or a cute guy. She's formidable and determined and expertly played by Alfre Woodhouse.
Nice is often underrated but that's what this film is. It's charming and honest and beautiful to watch. There is honesty and realism to it that is sadly lacking in so many other movies of this genre. Juanita may need to be saved but she's quite capable of doing that all by herself.
As for the rest of us, we're all off to Montana!