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A story centered around a transitional point in the life of Ave Maria Mulligan, the heart of her community in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.

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Big Stone Gap movie full length review - Small town rom-com, somewhat hokey, Judd is the bright spot of this small movie.

We found this movie on Netflix streaming. It is a small movie and comes off as a "made for TV" production but actually had a short theatrical run.

Interestingly the small town of Big Stone Gap is real, in the western part of Virginia just a few miles north of the Tennessee border, and the writer/director is from Big Stone Gap. Presumably some of the actors and many of the extras were residents of the community.

It is set in 1978 and the two featured character are 40, Patrick Wilson (actually 40 during filming) as coal miner Jack MacChesney and Ashley Judd (actually 45 during filming) as Ave Maria Mulligan. Jack and Ave each are somewhat seeing other people but it is clear from the start that he has an eye for her. But for some reason she seems unapproachable.

Ave runs the family drug store in the small town of a few thousand and knows just about everyone, and is one of the few "serious" characters in this movie. She is a good soul and a kind person.

The story here is nice and ends well. But my biggest issue with the movie is how almost all the characters are played as caricatures. They say things or do things that aren't very authentic and most seem to be buffoons. There is a good enough core story here that they didn't need to go overboard with the silliness and slapstick.

SPOILERS: Ave's mother dies and when the lawyer, a family friend, meets with her for the will he also gives her an envelope. Her mother had left it to tell her the true story, she had arrived from Italy pregnant and the dad Ave grew up with was not her biological father. In the envelope was a photo and name of her father in Italy. Unknown to her Jack finds the man and brings him to Big Stone Gap to surprise Ave, and she and Jack finally get together, right after she finds out her "man", the local band director, is really a homosexual.