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Valerie Flake is constantly asked about her rather strange last name. She makes up stories about her background, as she answers. After all, she is a vulnerable young girl who doesn't wish to receive too close to folks when we first meet her. Valerie has gone through a difficult period in her life after the tragedy of her husband's horrible death, something she feels guilty for indirectly having caused it.This young girl is no dummy. As a matter of fact, besides being a painter on her own right, Valerie knows a lot about art because not only did she study it, but her work has taken her to positions in which her knowledge was much appreciated. When we are introduced to her, she is working as a cashier at a huge Los Angeles supermarket. Her instant boss knows he has an perfect worker, a bit more mature and responsible than some of the others. When he offers her a promotion, she declines. Valerie Flake doesn't wish any more responsibilities at the moment.Her married sister comes by to confront her with a litany of complaints because she feels Valerie is falling into despair. She also says her about the upcoming anniversary of her former in-laws in Palm Springs. We watch as she heads toward that desert community to be part of the celebrations. In getting there, Valerie had stopped at a local supermarket to create a buy where the sole cashier is having problem ringing other customer's purchase. The manager of that store, Tim Darnell, likes what he sees.At the in-laws, things are not as strained as one should have expected. The older Flakes have dealt with their son's death in a positive manner, whereas Valerie still is bitter and mad at having caused her husband's death. Both Douglas and Irene Flake are said by Valerie about what really happened with their son as she comes clean. Valerie, who has been seeing Tim Darnell, is visited by Douglas who says her how wrong she has been for carrying all that burden bottled up inside her.At the end, we watch as Valerie heads back to Los Angeles in her yellow VW van. She evidently has come to grips with herself and what she wants to do with her own life.This pretty movie was given a nice treatment by its fine director, John Putch. He clearly deserves praise for having the courage to bring an adult, and human storyline to the screen. Nothing is sugar-coated in the perfect screen enjoy Robert Tilem wrote. Mr. Putch shows nice sensibility for the material in this independent movie that unfortunately didn't create it to a wider distribution and actually is surfacing on cable.Susan Traylor is the entire reason for watching the film. This actress, who is not exactly a Hollywood beauty, is excellent as this confused and mad young woman. Her Valerie is true and we sense it from the start. Ms. Traylor never makes a wrong gesture, or a wrong move, giving the director the complexity in her hero he, and Mr. Tilen, had in mind. Ms. Traylor is a unbelievable presence in the film.Jay Witherspoon has some nice moments as Tim Darnell, the young boy who likes Valerie. Christine Pickles, who plays Tim's mother, is other surprise. She thinks she knows what Valerie is looking for, and how wrong she really is! Peter Michael Goetz, an actor who could be seen more often, and Rosemary Forsyth, a nice actress, enjoy the parents of Valerie's late husband. Ann Gillespie and Terrence Howard are seen in tiny roles.It's a shame "Valerie Flake" was not seen by more people. We consider ourselves lucky to have watched this perfect movie that shows human emotions that are real. Unique praise gotta go to Mr. Putch and his constructive partners, especially the cinematographer, Tag Putnam, and the composers of the movie score, Alesander Baker and Clair Marlo.
I've seen Valerie Flake twice actually at screenings, and was very pleasantly surprised the first time, and equally entertained the second. The performances are unbelievable without exception, and the direction is very accomplished. This is especially so considering the no doubt abbreviated shooting schedule on a $500,000 budget. While I had a several tiny issues with the ending, I was unable to search any major faults in the film. I think the picture hinges almost entirely on the performance of the lead acttress, and I can see why some moviegoers might not be immediately smitten with her. However, I think that's part of what makes the movie work. It takes some work on the audiences part to root for this character, but once you create that decision you're in for an entertaining ride.
Wayne Dwight ([email protected]) With all the comments the above person wrote were method off base! This was one of those films that keeps you on edge of your seat wondering where it is going and if this terrible unfortunate can search happiness, which she ends up not finding! Sad movie, but fun to watch and just play as a storyline that most of us will never live! Susan Traylor did an perfect job in this movie! Don't understand why this hasn't brought her extra roles. She just made the movie, even with her exposure and dead pan expressions, which just made her more interesting to the viewer! I have to tell I really enjoyed watching and enjoying her work!
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