Headstrong Mona Hubbard (Minnie Driver) is a fiercely driven woman with only one goal: to capture the coveted Miss American Miss beauty award. Unloved as a child, Mona sees the pageant as a means of gaining the attention and adoration she's long felt missing from her life. She is aided in her quest by the one person who can stomach her domineering ways, childhood friend and consummate nurturer Ruby (Joey Lauren Adams). Mona also finds an unexpected supporter in her own, long-neglected daughter, Vanessa (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), who, as the pageant looms closer, finally makes Mona realize where love and acceptance can truly be found.
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