Starring: Ed Harris, Joanne Woodward
Directed by: Fred Schepisi
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: A two-part HBO mini-series which follows the lives of several families and the class struggles that take place in a decaying town called Empire Falls, Maine.
Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): The matriarch of the town is the wealthy widow Francine Whiting (Joanne Woodward) who uses her power and influence to control everything and everyone. Her daughter, Cindy (Kate Burton) was injured in an accident as a child and struggles with the after-effects. Café manager Miles Ruby (Ed Harris) has been under the thumb of Francine for many years. When he visits the woman, Cindy greets him at the door. Once inside, a long-haired grey cat appears and takes a swipe at Miles.
The cat’s name is Timmy who, despite the name, is a female. Cindy picks her up, then lets her go.
Francine is outside in a gazebo by the river and she rings a bell. Timmy leaps onto the screen door and hangs there.
When Miles tries to leave, Timmy takes another swipe at him, leaving some nasty scratches on his hand.
When Miles meets Francine in the gazebo, she notes that he must have had another run-in with Timmy. “It’s odd how she hates you so much!” Miles suggests holding a raffle to get the chance to beat Timmy with a baseball bat. Later in the scene Timmy jumps up into Francine’s lap, making Miles jump.
When Miles leaves the Whiting house, he is startled to see Timmy in his car. The cat jumps out and runs away but has completely trashed the upholstery of the vehicle.
Timmy is next seen lying on top of the tombstone on Charles Whiting’s grave. It is noted that she has a tendency to pee on the gravesite but this is not actually seen. Timmy jumps down when Miles and Cindy approach.
Still later, Timmy is sitting in Francine’s lap and seems to sense Miles looking at them from the bridge some distance away.
In another scene, Timmy is inside Francine’s limousine when Miles gets into a fight with Officer Jimmy Minty (William Fichtner) outside the old factory. Timmy runs back and forth inside the car as they fight, looking out the window as if she would like to join in the brawl.
At the end, the fate of Francine Whiting is explained. She was washed down the river in a flood while being in the gazebo during a storm. The narrator explains that no one knows why she went to the gazebo, but Timmy is shown there, wet and bedraggled, with Francine calling to her as she approaches.
According to the commentary track on the DVD, two cats played the part of Timmy. In an article in the Burlington Free Press on November 22, 2003, it states that a British Blue cat named Bogart was the cat actor in the final scene when Mrs. Whiting and Timmy are washed away in a flood. The description in the newspaper makes it sound as if this scene was previously more extensive with the gazebo and bodies being shown floating away, but these scenes are not in the final film.
Final Mewsings: Catty women have catty cats!