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It’s 1970 in upstate New York and teens, Gene and Joe Bellidochi, are poor, good-looking, and the only Italians in town. Lorna, 38, is their single, sultry jazz singing mother with five kids. When Social Services threatens to put Lorna's children in foster care, a rusty blue Vega rolls into the driveway and life changes for the Bellidochi family. This is a gritty and sweet coming of age story filled with music that reminds us love can reign.
It's 1970 in Owl Falls, New York and Eugene (17) and Joseph (16)
Bellidochi are new in town. They and their three little brothers moved
from the city after their mother's (Lorna) divorce and her career crash
as a nightclub singer. A cast of neighborhood characters weave in and
out of the bold tapestry of the Bellidochi family. Dancing and singing
fills the Bellidochi home. Dave, a hood, and others, taunt Gene and Joe
calling them “wops” who play with their balls and have a hot mama. Old
lady Jenkins peeks in the window to watch Lorna and her misfit friend,
Betty, dance and calls Social Services. Gene has a crush on Melody, an
ethereal beauty. Melody tells Gene he dances beautifully on the
basketball court and asks him to the prom, but he needs a car. Gene
spies an old rusty, blue Vega at a used car lot and determines to work
for it. George, blank-faced, takes daily walks with his two German
Shepherds. Melody says he’s different, but harmless. Gene says he’s
creepy and he’ll take Melody to the prom. Lorna bakes cookies for the
neighborhood kids, but there’s never enough food on the table. Al, a
widowed farmer, brings Lorna veggies from his garden and watches her
backside. Harriet, a good Methodist, comes bearing a coffee cake and
partakes of some dancing mania. Lorna’s ex, Tony, breaks in, pulls the
phone out of the wall, and tries to choke Lorna. Joe hits him over the
head with a frying pan. Gene runs to Mrs. Jenkins to call the police.
Lorna spends the night in the hospital and Mrs. Jenkins watches the
kids. Lorna comes home and the Social Services manager visits to tell
Lorna her three youngest boys are going into foster care in a month.
Tommy, 5, runs away when he hears that DSS is going to take him and his
brothers away. The neighborhood looks for Tommy and the owner of the
used car lot gives Lorna the Blue Vega. Tommy is found with George, the
mentally-handicapped dog walker. Lorna gets a job as a singer in
Manhattan and leaves the boys Fridays to Sundays. A month later, the
Vega dies on Lorna’s way home and she spends the night with the Walkers,
who know Mrs. Jenkins in Owl Falls. The Walkers secretly call Mrs.
Jenkins and on Monday, Mrs. Jenkins goes to the Bellidochi home and
declares she's in charge. She finds the DSS letter that says DSS is
coming for the boys that afternoon. She, Harriet, and Betty hide the
boys. Lorna comes home late and thinks her boys have been taken by DSS.
She gets in the Vega and drives to the waterfall and contemplates ending
her life. In the meantime, Gene, Joe, and Melody walk around town and
Dave, the hood, tells them their Bambino Vega is stuck at a waterfall
with no-one in it. They find Lorna asleep in the Vega. Lorna wakes to
find her children are safe and she tells them she’s made enough money
and an album is being released before Christmas. Prom night arrives and
Betty, Harriet, and a few neighbors take photos of Eugene and Joe and
their dates. Later, while Betty and Lorna play and sing for friends, a
policeman comes to say an accident happened, but no one is hurt. Gene
and Joe had an after party at the waterfalls and the Vega spontaneously
combusted and burst into flames. Too much love for a Vega!