A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
If I were to describe the plot of "Square Dance," you'd likely laugh out loud. The movie itself denies even that pleasure. This is a weary morality play that sinks under the weight of its good intentions.
The story involves a group of small-town people who have an amazing number of unlikely things happen to them and it struggles to carry the burden of Meaning and Significance that lurks beneath every development. What this movie needs is something to break the ice, maybe something like the projectile vomiting scene in "Stand By Me." The story begins down on the farm, where Jason Robards' character is a stern taskmaster for his granddaughter, Gemma (Winona Ryder).
Seems like the girl can't do nothing right. And yet there's still a spark of humanity in the old codger, as when he remembers the grand days when they all used to square dance.
One day, a visitor arrives at the farm and surprises Gemma. It's Juanelle (Jane Alexander), her mother, who ran off to the big city more than a dozen years ago, and left her daughter to be raised by Robards.