Scenery of ‘Heart of Dixie’ beautiful, plot undeveloped

By Johanna Harris

“Dixie.” This word may conjure up thoughts of a laid back atmosphere where everyone is called “honey”, beautiful mansions and Southern belles straight out of “Gone With the Wind.”

The movie “Heart of Dixie” has all of these elements but unfortunately contains a plot, too, which leads to its downfall.

“Heart of Dixie” focuses mainly on Maggie (Ally Sheedy), a college student in Alabama in 1957, and her entry into adulthood. Maggie’s maturation is provoked by her sudden awareness of the impending Civil Rights Movement. By getting involved, Maggie is true to her own feelings, but turns her sorority, her boyfriend and even her college against her in the process.

The problem is not in the actual plot, but rather in how it is developed. For example, “Heart of Dixie” contains many loose ends involving characters that don’t serve any vital purpose besides speaking in a Southern accent.

Even Maggie’s best friend Delia (Virginia Madsen), who is in the majority of the movie, doesn’t have anything of real substance to add to Maggie’s character, although her acting ability isn’t half bad.

This movie would work if it didn’t contain such a weighty issue like racial discrimination. The plot is too neat and idealistic to be effective – it’s almost like a PG version of an R-rated dilemma.

It’s too bad that “Heart of Dixie” couldn’t just be about 1950’s college life in Alabama and show lots of beautiful Southern scenery. It’s on this note that the movie is enjoyable to watch. When appealing to one’s conscience, however, “Heart of Dixie” just falls apart.