This film is beautifully written, constructed, cast and acted. The pace, photography, color, soundtrack, costumes and sets all move with depth, nuance and a continuity remarkably faithful to the pace and way of idealized Amish country life. The film presents the Amish not as characters in a melodrama, but rather spreads out the entire Fulham County Community in the complexity of a spiritual, ethical parable without preaching, or judging, or trivializing the deep human values at odds in an incident, which becomes a crime, which becomes a complex balance of "relative rights and wrongs," which the film is scrupulously careful to articulate in terse dialog, exceptional acting, and sincere beauty.
This film has become a trivia footnote in Brad Pitt's filmography, since it is one of his earliest performances. It deserves to be elevated from footnote to Exceptional Acting by a Juvenile. His performance is brief, heart-breaking, and some of the best work he has ever done. Likewise those who know Ron Perlman only as a "heavy" character actor will marvel at the finely graduated and sincere beauty of his revelation of the heart of Job. By the time the film concludes, truth and amity prevail notwithstanding tragedy, there are no shallow winners or losers, and Life itself is the summary memory. Some film buffs may perhaps muse to themselves that they have been touched like this, with this power and restraint, in only one other film: "To Kill A Mockingbird."