Darly (Christine Lahti), a cynical waitress, has decided to quit her job in Normal, Wyoming and travel to Alaska where she has inherited two acres of wilderness and a house built by her former boyfriend. She offers a ride to Marianne (Meg Tilly), a depressed woman who has just fled her battering husband. These two lower-middle-class women share a sense of sorrow over what they see as their bad choices and botched lives. They've both been unlucky in love and unable to find fulfillment in work. With nothing left to lose, they're ready for whatever surprises come their way on the road.
After stopping for a visit with her controlling sister in Portland, Marianne decides to accompany Darly to Alaska. They have to hitch a ride with two truckers, one of whom is instantly smitten by Marianne, when their car breaks down and is stripped on the side of the highway. The women then meet Cele (Patricia Darbo), another lonely soul who teams up with them. Much to Darly's dismay, she meets the perfect man at a picnic and is swept away in love. But at least she gives them her camper. That's fortunate, since arriving at last in Alaska, they discover that the house was never finished. While Marianne relaxes into her new life, Darly confronts the unfinished business of trying to find out what happened to the daughter she abandoned at birth.
Leaving Normal is directed by Edward Zwick (Glory). This heartfelt comedy is about the spiritual journey of two hurting women who help heal each other. It's also about the delights which can come our way when we give up trying to control our lives. Best of all, the film is about finding a place which we can call home where our imperfections are accepted. It's never too late to start all over again, especially when there's someone who cares to share the adventure.