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W. O. Mitchells classic novel of life and death in a dust-bowl prairie town in the Great Depression of the 1930s is filmed with remarkable breadth, intimacy and tenderness.

In the kernel of the story, young Brian OConnell comes to terms with life and death. He does this within the gradually expanding universe of his family, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Uncle Sean, his school, town and the prairie. Through the eyes of 10-year old Brian we come face to face with the inequities of his world. The film gathers impressive power as it contrasts the wild and natural forces of the prairie against the self-righteous, cruelly vindictive, but ultimately civilized forces of his town.

The death of his father is the terrible loss from which he learns most. Without bitterness or cynicism, in this flawlessly acted film, Brian reminds us all that no matter how painful some experiences may be, one may emerge from them with a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.

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