Children On Their Birthdays (2002) - Synopsis

Children On Their Birthdays (2002) - Synopsis ImageAlabama-1947. A stifling heat has settled down on this tiny one-street town in the heart of the South. The residents resign themselves to the long months ahead, sipping lemonade, playing dominoes, going about their business, completely unaware that this will not be just another summer. For, one day, from the thick cloud of dust cast off by the six o'clock bus emerges a tiny figure, dressed in sky bluefrills, twirling a parasol on her shoulder. Lily Jane Bobbit, a mysterious thirteen-year-old girl, accompanied by her mute mother, seemingly appears from nowhere and sashays her way into the hearts and imaginations of the citizens of Abbeville. And, it is two of Abbeville's youngest residents who are particularly taken by Miss Bobbit's almost magical influence.

Billy Bob Murphy lives with his recently war-widowed mother, Elinore, trying his best to endure the pain of entering manhood without a father. Although our freckle-faced hero consistently tries to do what's right and good, his best friend, Preacher Star, makes that next to impossible. Condemned to spend his childhood with a suspected alcoholic father and three red-haired ruthless older brothers, Preacher has not had an easy time of it and has little or no compunction about leading Billy Bob down the path to moral ruin.

Billy Bob and Preacher, as thirteen-year-old boys are known to do, fall deeply in love with Miss Bobbit at the first sight of her. The two battle for the little girl's attention and as the summer months wear on, it is clear that the two are on a collision course with one another that could not only destroy their friendship, but take the tiny town with them. Elinore, try as she might to save her son from the heartache that he will inevitably endure, must eventually stand back and let the pre-adolescent triangle play itself out.

In the end, it is the smooth-talking, crooked show promoter Lionel Quince who, in his attempt to rob the locals of their life savings with a bogus talent contest, causes the two boys to realize that true friendship is hard to come by, and that nothing must destroy that precious commodity. The boys, together with Miss Bobbit and Sister Rosalba, a local African-American girl that Miss Bobbit befriends, manage to track down the crooked Mr. Quince, capture him, and turn him in to the local authorities, returning the town's money and dignity in the process.