passion fish (1992)

written and directed by john sayles

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When soap opera star May-Alice Culhane (Mary McDonnell) is left paralyzed from the waist down by an auto accident, she returns to her empty family home in a remote corner of Louisiana. Depressed and feeling hopeless, her cruel humor and hard drinking drive away a succession of live-in nurses, until she meets her match in Chantelle (Alfre Woodard), who for reasons of her own badly needs the job. One woman has power because she is physically able, the other because she writes the checks- their need of each other forces them out of themselves, tentatively exploring the bayou together, meeting men, facing both their past mistakes and their uncertain present, slowly coming back into life. McDonnell earned a 1992 Oscar nomination for her brilliant portrayal of a paralyzed woman, as did Sayles for his screenplay about two women brought together by desperation and heading towards healing friendship in a place with a power of its own. This movie has become a favorite in the Cajun country where it was filmed.