The thing that saves this movie from sentimentality is that the heroine is a little ornery. She's not just a sweet and gentle little old lady. She's a big old lady, with a streak of stubbornness. And just because she's right doesn't mean she's always all that nice. When "The Trip to Bountiful" tells us that she wants to leave her miserable life in the city and pay one last visit to her childhood country home, somehow we know that the movie won't be over when she hears the birds singing in the trees.
The movie stars the redoubtable Geraldine Page as Mrs. Watts, a country woman who has come to live in a cramped city apartment with her son and daughter-in-law. The apartment isn't big enough for two women.
They're always on each other's nerves.
The wife, Jessie Mae (Carlin Glynn), doesn't like Mrs. Watts singing her hymns around the house. Mrs. Watts' strategy is more subtle: She tries to appear long-suffering, a martyr, and she is much given to throwing herself on the couch and pulling a comforter over her head to muffle her sobs.