Film Capsule: Stella

Cover of "Stella"
Cover of Stella

Stella is a 1990 American drama film produced by Touchstone and released by Buena Vista Pictures. The screenplay by Robert Getchell is the third feature film adaptation of the 1920 novel Stella Dallas by Olive Higgins Prouty.

The title character is a vulgar and unfashionable single mother who, determined to give her daughter Jenny all the opportunities she never had, ultimately makes a selfless sacrifice to ensure her happiness.

John Erman directed a cast that included Bette Midler as Stella and Trini Alvarado as Jenny, with John Goodman, Stephen Collins, Marsha Mason, Eileen Brennan, Linda Hart, Ben Stiller, and William McNamara in supporting roles.

In her New York Times review, Janet Maslin said, “Bette Midler, too old for the film’s opening and too smart for its resolution, isn’t exactly the right actress, but she’s a lot closer than might have been expected. Ms. Midler manages to gloss over the story’s inconsistencies, play up its charming aspects, and generally bluster her way through . . . her exuberance is most helpful in overshadowing the inconvenient aspects of this story.”

Razzie Awards nominations went to Midler for Worst Actress and Jay Gruska and Paul Gordon for Worst Original Song (“One More Cheer for Me!”).

Total US gross for the film was $20,062,347 [1]. It has been released on videotape and DVD.

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