Director Wayne Wang, known for family dramas about Chinese Americans that focus on mother-daughter relationships (DIM SUM, THE JOY LUCK CLUB), here adapts Mona Simpson's ANYWHERE BUT HERE, a novel perfectly suited for his talents. Teenage Ann (Natalie Portman) wants a normal life, but her mother, Adele (Susan Sarandon), has a different idea of what is considered normal. When Adele grows tired of claustrophobic small-town life in Wisconsin, she takes the constantly complaining Ann across the country to Los Angeles, where she wants to start a new life. Ann, however, doesn't want to go, and her behavior wavers between typical adolescent annoyance to real insightfulness into her mother's character. Much of this comes from the voice-over provided by the adult Ann, who explains it all from her mature point of view. This sentimental story, long on feelings and more feelings, is nicely played, with Sarandon enthusiastic as the eccentric single mother that her daughter can't wait to get away from.