6.9/10
948
10 user 12 critic

Shy People (1987)

R | | Drama | 11 March 1988 (USA)
New York journalist visits her distant cousin for the first time to write an article about her hard life in the bayous of Louisiana. Journalist's wild drug addicted daughter just adds to tensions between two families' cultures.

Director:

(as Andrei Konchalovsky)

Writers:

(story) (as Andrei Konchalovsky), (screenplay) (as Gerard Brach) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Mike
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...
...
...
Candy
Michael Audley ...
Louie
...
Larry
Tony Epper ...
Jake
Paul Landry ...
Henry
Warren Battiste ...
Dick
...
Chuck
Vladimir Bibic ...
Welder
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Storyline

New York pretentious Diana Sullivan is writing a series of articles on the theme of "family" for Cosmopolitan magazine. Primarily to keep an eye on her but also because of the personal connection, Diana invites her mid-teen daughter, Grace Sullivan, to accompany her on a trip to research the next in the series, dealing with their own family, most specifically a wing that lives deep in the backwaters of the Louisiana bayou, which has been largely overtaken by oil companies of late. They are most directly connected by brothers: Diana's grandfather Mike, and Joe, the patriarch of the Louisiana wing. Diana and Grace have never met their Louisiana relations, they in turn who do not even know that Diana and Grace exist. As difficult as it becomes, Diana and Grace are able to meet their Louisiana relations, led by Joe's widowed young wife, Ruth Sullivan, who acts as if Joe is still with them, who sees anything related to the city as suspect, and who rules her household with an iron fist to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bayou | independent film | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aru Hitobito  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$769,119 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was #4 on Roger Ebert's list of the Best Films of 1988. See more »

Connections

Features Press Your Luck (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Way We Were
Written by Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by Janey Clewer
Produced by Music for You Productions/Gary Tole Orchestra
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User Reviews

A mixed bag
15 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's hard to even put one's finger on what Konchalovskiy actually thought he was doing because as a whole the film doesn't hold together and looks rather fragmented. Maybe he wanted to do a horror flick or he didn't even have a coherent concept but just went shooting and hoping that something will come out of it?

The script has distinctive feeling of an old school Russian theatrical play - too much pathos and sharp separations between formal acts. That damages the flow and makes it look too verbal and melodramatic (which does work for live theater), as if it was used because they (3 writers) didn't have enough ideas for a smooth flow. Also a retard son was a cliché without any purpose or history.

The cast was very uneven in quality and makes me think that maybe Konchalovskiy run out of ideas on what do do with actors. Barbara Hershey has done a great job but the character is still monotone and that's a direction flaw (she has done enough very different characters to be able to portray a character transition). Martha Plimpton did well as Grace but it looks like she was left to her own devices and she needed directional help to go from "well" to "great". Jill Clayburgh was abysmal, ruined half of the flick and made me think how would Meryl Strip or Glenn Close make that role fly sky high.

Cinematography was way to much of a Chris Menges showing off and not thinking about the whole. In some scenes it looks so artificial that it make you snap out of the flow. Also it's way too much of a flat gray and lacking a range which is a trap that indulgent cinematographers sometimes fall into. Whatever he saw as gradations of gray on the set is lost even on celluloid and turns into a smudge in digital.

Portraying eerie requires enough contrast for the audience at large to see visual structure instead of a flat surface. Some thinking and effort to transition from say lush green to foggy to rainy to "vapor above a water" and some testing to check what is realistically discernible on screen with the tech at hand.


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