10 user 11 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.


(as Andrei Konchalovsky)


(story) (as Andrei Konchalovsky), (screenplay) (as Gerard Brach) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Audley ...
Tony Epper ...
Paul Landry ...
Warren Battiste ...
Vladimir Bibic ...


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) »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aru Hitobito  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$769,119 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


Features Press Your Luck (1983) See more »


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
See more »

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User Reviews

Strange, haunting, very absorbing
17 August 2002 | by (Liverpool, UK) – See all my reviews

Barbara Hershey gives a great performance as the deeply repressed backwoods woman -- it could have been caricature work, but it's passionate, dedicated and determined yet restrained. Her character is so dedicated to code and rigid beliefs that after a while we surprise ourselves by starting to wonder if there's some truth, or sense, or admirable strength, to her punishing way of living.

The city woman, played by Jill Clayburgh, is our way into the story, and yet she is depicted as somewhat silly and sheltered; her modern, idealistic comments and questions get across thoughts we agree with, and yet they aren't intended as powerful speeches, so our balance of skepticism and interest in Hershey is retained.

"Shy People" is full of powerful melodrama, strange and specific characters, striking settings, extreme dramatic implications and turning points. The material penetrates the mind and refuses to settle down in the form of cosy conclusions. An oddly powerful movie.

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