American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
All of the characters in Tim Kirkman's "Loggerheads" are good people, by their own lights. The lights of some people allow them to be content, while the lights of others fill them with sadness and regret. Sometimes you can move from one group to another. Not always.
The story involves the years 1990 and 1991 and three areas of North Carolina: Asheville, Eden, and Kure Beach. The characters are dealing in one way or another with homosexuality and adoption. One of the characters provides a connecting link involving the others. That makes it sounds like things are all figured out, but "Loggerheads" is not a movie where the emotions are tidy and the messages are clear. It is about people trying to deal with the situations they have landed in.
We meet a woman named Grace (Bonnie Hunt) who works behind a rental-car counter, and has moved back to Asheville to live with her mother Sheridan (Michael Learned). In Eden, we meet a pastor named Robert (Chris Sarandon) and his wife Elizabeth (Tess Harper). On Kure Beach, George (Michael Kelly) runs a shabby motel, and Mark (Kip Pardue) sleeps on the beach and observes the nocturnal behavior of loggerhead turtles. Loggerheads always return to the place where they were born, and that is something not everyone in the movie finds it easy to do.
I want to go slow in describing the plot, because its developments unfold according to the needs of the characters. The movie is not about springing surprises on us, but about showing these people in a process of discovery. The performances are not pitched toward melodrama; the actors all find the right notes and rhythms for scenes in which life goes on and everything need not be solved in three lines of dialogue.