If you are director Thom Fitzgerald looking to cast his leads for the romantic road-movie comedy Cloudburst, you dive back into the films of the 1980s for creative inspiration. “In the eighties I loved intelligent comedies featuring women, like Crimes of the Heart and Steel Magnolias. I also personally know a lot of magnificent, brazen, foul-mouthed aggressive lesbian women, and I think we haven’t really seen a movie unfold through that point of view,” said Fitzgerald.
Next you need to find two actresses that have chemistry. Having previously worked with Olympia Dukakis on The Event and 3 Needles, Fitzgerald knew Dukakis would be perfect for the role of Stella. From there, Brenda Fricker came onto the team as Dot, and a fantastic on-screen couple, like the pairing of Redford and Streisand, was born.
Fitzgerald chose the road-movie route, so to speak, because it took his lead characters out of their comfort zones. Stella and Dot are aging lovers who have long shared a peaceful life together in their seaside home. Everything changes when Dot’s uptight granddaughter shows up with a police escort to bring her to a retirement home. Stella soon stages a breakout, and the devoted duo hit the road for Canada, where they can legally marry. Amidst the chaos, they are forced to step away from the parts they’ve been conditioned to play for three decades, a frightening yet liberating prospect.
Fitgerald obviously did something right as Cloudburst has been heralded by critics as a “laugh-out-loud road trip that’s simultaneously deeply moving and uproariously funny,” and has been the winner of multiple ‘Best Film’ and audience awards from film festivals across the globe.
With equal parts humor and grace, Cloudburst explores life, death, and love through the eyes of a beautifully unconventional couple. It’s a great summer feel-good movie for a hot summer night.
To see a trailer for the film, click here
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival screening of Cloudburst takes place on Wednesday, July 25th at 8 pm at the . Dinner, featuring Beetlebung Farm and The Scottish Bakehouse and live music by Dana Edelman begin at 7 pm.