We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Oh, what a sad story this is, about a woman who never accepted anything good in her life because she was hoping for something better. Now she is dying, and in her quiet and civilized way is trying to double back and see what can be retrieved. We think we'll have enough time to tidy up the loose ends, and then death slams down.
"Sleepy Time Gal" stars Jacqueline Bisset as Frances, a woman who in some ways has led an admirable life. She made her own way. Very early, she was the late-night disk jockey on a Florida radio station, and her later jobs reflected various causes or passing fancies. She was married twice, had a son by each marriage--and she also, we learn, had a daughter by a third man and gave her up for adoption. She has not been an attentive mother. One of the sons faithfully attends her bedside, but he observes, "She doesn't really know very much about me"--perhaps not even that he is gay. The other son phones in from London but will not supply a return number. She wishes she could contact the daughter.
We meet that daughter early in the film. She is Rebecca (Martha Plimpton), raised by foster parents in Boston, now a corporate lawyer. She travels to Daytona Beach to buy a radio station for her employer and has the taxi stop outside a hospital there--the hospital, she knows, where she was born. She looks at it, but what can it tell her? Drive on.
The radio station for many years played rhythm and blues; it was a "race station" when such stations were unknown, says its proud owner, Jimmy (Frankie Faison). He wants to give its record collection to the local community college. "I'll be damned if I know what it is that makes this deal so sad," Rebecca says, but Jimmy is not sad; he plans to travel with his wife, maybe to Malaysia. Rebecca asks him why he never moved to a bigger market. There were a lot of reasons, he says, and one of them was love. He loved the announcer who was known as the Sleepy Time Gal. Rebecca, looking at her photograph, has no way of knowing it is her mother. That night Rebecca sleeps with Jimmy, who has no way of knowing she is the daughter of the Sleepy Time Gal.