Posts Tagged “Julianne Nicholson”

2000

November 17, 2002

Camera Cinema Club

USA

English

It’s a bit hard to describe this one. No matter who you are reading this, I would like you to go see this film, support it, show it the love and care it deserves. The fact that it takes place on a farm is no reason to go in with pre-conceived ideas.

The truth is, this film could take place anywhere. It is about a widower and his two sons living in a small Nebraska farm town, how they interact with each other and the town, and how secrets can eventually tear apart families, or bring them together.

Anson Mount plays the cocky brother, Tully. He is so good-looking that men, women, animals alike are charmed by him. As are we in the audience. He has a roster of town girls he sleeps with, he assumes everyone would like a chance to mess around with him, and he has never needed to actually communicate with women in order to spend time with them. Glenn Fitzgerald plays Earl, the geekier, quieter brother who raises award-winning cows and shares secrets with the local veterinary student, Ella, played with swooning attractiveness by Julianne Nicholson. Bob Burrus plays the father perfectly. He is all leathery skin and infrequent speech, like you might imagine an old farmer acts. He spends nights in his workshop, fixing things and hiding out in his loneliness.

Nicholson is a sight to behold. She’s tomboyish and freckle-faced. She understands each of these men in ways they probably don’t understand themselves. She is probably the best friend of Earl, and she knows exactly how to get playboy Tully to spend time with her.

The dialogue is normal. That is the biggest compliment I can give it. The characters talk like real people. They don’t over-explain things, as movies are want to do, so that the dumbest in the audience knows what is happening at every second. People often interact with each other without saying anything. Characters who are alone, do not talk to themselves, explaining what they’re thinking. When Ella rides her bike over with tears in her eyes, she doesn’t say “I’m sad because….”, when Tully offers her companionship, under the guise of doing errands, he doesn’t say “Please tell me what happened” he just puts her in the car with him. Tully goes to a favorite spot alone, Ella goes to her favorite swimming hole, Earl escapes to the movies, and the father parks his truck and enjoys his weekly Pabst six-pack. None of these scenes require dialogue. We don’t need to know what they’re thinking about. We can see how they’re feeling, knowing what exactly is going through their minds will not increase our enjoyment of any scenes, they will simply ring less true.

That is the biggest selling point for this film. The character interactions are realistic. The clerk at the grocery store who cherishes the three minutes she spends a week with the father. The stripper who sleeps with and then claims Tully’s body as hers alone. The way the two brothers can be fighting one minute, and teaming up the next. All of these things are the way life is really lived.

Add to this the beautifully shot fields of the plains, the simple pleasures of a waterhole, or french fries at the Dairy Queen, or a slow walk through the crops, and we see captured on screen the slow, but fulfilling pace of life on a farm. And I’m making these statements based on a video-projected VHS copy that we were forced to watch, due to Fed Ex losing our print. After about five minutes, the quality of the projection was completely lost as I entered this film’s world.

The story involves the possible foreclosure of the farm due to debts that no one anticipated. But rest assured, this is not one of those big-guy-against-the-family-farm films, nor is it one of those “Aw, look at the poor, backward farm folks who don’t have Playstations.” It treats the townspeople and the way of life with respect.

The plot has secrets that are revealed one by one, but they are just icing on this beautiful cake. It is really saying something when a film would have been just as enjoyable, had the revelations not even been a part of it.

Again, the fact that the film takes place on a farm is really inconsequential.

Nicholson is something to see here. And so is this film. Let it wash over you.

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Written by Michael W. Cummins