Vol. 16, No. 20 – June 28 – July 11, 2023 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
To Leslie – Netflix

Breeze rating from 1 to 4 palm trees,
4 being best.

When West Texas single mother Leslie “Lee” Rowland (Andrea Riseborough) won a $190,000 lottery using her son James’ (Owen Teague) birthdate as her lucky number picks, she thought it would be a chance at a good life for her and her son. Unfortunately, six years later she would find herself being evicted from the local motel and estranged from her son, who she ended up leaving with her friends Nancy and Dutch (Allison Janney, Stephen Root) when she squandered it all and was penniless.

Leslie was also challenged with being an alcoholic, which was where most of her money went buying rounds of drinks for everyone in town at the local bar. To support her need for alcohol, she started hitting on strangers that visited the bar in hopes of free drinks, but this was a dangerous game as she was assaulted and had no shelter to go for protection so she reached out to her son James for help.

James was now 20 years old living in a city nearby and working in construction. When his mom Leslie got off the bus, she looked as though she hadn’t showered for weeks and was wearing dirty, tattered clothing. James took her to get some new clothes and told her that she could temporarily stay with him and his roommate, but she had to come up with a plan for a job, her own place, and absolutely no drinking was allowed, though he told her it was alright to smoke marijuana.

Leslie ended up stealing money from James’ roommate and after finding her drunk with empty alcohol bottles under the bed, he put her on a bus back to Dutch and Nancy, who reluctantly took her in with the same rule of no drinking. Unable to manage her alcoholism, Leslie got drunk and found herself locked out of Dutch and Nancy’s who left her suitcase on the porch to insure she knew she was no longer welcome.

Leslie found a spot outside a local motel to sleep that night, but in the morning the motel manager Sweeney (Marc Maron) found her outside the motel and told her to leave, but when she ran off she forgot her suitcase. She slept in an abandoned ice cream shop that night and returned for her suitcase and Sweeney felt the need to help her, so offered her a job cleaning rooms at the motel in exchange for a small wage and room at the motel.

Leslie was not ready for that level of responsibility and showed up for work late the first two days and was not doing a good job cleaning, which frustrated Sweeney. She asked for a pay advance and ended up getting drunk, then broke into the home where she used to live with her son and scared the family that was living there. They called Sweeney who brought her back to the motel, but decided that was enough and planned to fire her in the morning.

Leslie knew she screwed up and pleaded with Sweeney for a second chance, which he did decide to give her. She also gave up drinking, cold turkey, and Sweeney was there to help her through it having dealt with an alcoholic wife in the past. With Sweeney’s help she completely turned her life around and asked Sweeney to help her with her lifelong dream and turn the old ice shop into a diner, but would the town turn their back on her or also give her another chance.

Rated: R
Runtime: 1h 59m

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