Margaret Laurence is one of my favorite Canadian writers and this movie comes from her book, A Jest of God. This was the first movie Paul Newman directed and he chose his wife to play the lead. This was expert casting because Woodward excelled at playing characters like this one.
Rachel is a single woman in her thirties, an "old maid." Her siblings have grown and moved away from Manawaka, the small town in Canada where the book.movie takes place. Rachel is the unwilling caretaker for her mother, who is frail and needy.
Rachel is needy, too. She would like to find love, a husband of her own, and have children, but she does not know how to escape the ties that bind her to the small town and her unrewarding life. Margaret Laurence and Paul Newman in turn lets us feel her frustration and longing.
Unexpectedly, Rachel is faced with a challenge, and with it a chance for growth and fulfillment. It is interesting to find out how Rachel meets this challenge. The movie was made in 1968 and I remember it well.
If I were to make a list of forgotten actresses, Woodward would be near the top.