The story of a strong-minded Polish mother, Halina Nowak who desperately wants her talented son, Jacek to have a life in the free world. On the eve of the Polish uprising, Halina, taking ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Kellie Overbey ...
Scott Schutzman Tiler ...
Eric (as Scott Tiler)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Thor Fields ...
Ruffian's Friend
Militia Man
Jacek's father
School Teacher
Sullivan Walker


The story of a strong-minded Polish mother, Halina Nowak who desperately wants her talented son, Jacek to have a life in the free world. On the eve of the Polish uprising, Halina, taking her teenage son with her, leaves her husband in Poland and heads for Washington D.C. where her feisty mother and sister now live. Halina, willful and fun-loving, has a gift for life as her son has a gift for music. Although educated, she braves her job as a cleaning woman at a radio station before making the grade to anchor-woman. While Halina embraces her new life to the full, Jacek is employed as a casual laborer Experiencing his first taste of school, Jacek falls in with a crowd of eccentric kids (including a far-out flirt named Mary), he crashes a car and ends up being suspended. Together, with a sense of adventure, mother and son confront a foreign culture gaining a new understanding of themselves and the country they have adopted as their own. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

6 July 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Emigranterna  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

14 August 2004 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Toronto Film Festival and then caught it on American Playhouse on PBS-TV and I thought it was really well made.

John Cameron Mitchell plays a shy teenager making his way in a strange, often hostile new world. He speaks very little during the movie, but his eyes and the set of his mouth show us the tension that builds as his pride takes a beating again and again. His mother's (played by Elzbieta Czyzewska – the model for the Sally Kirkland role in the film 'Anna') and his experiences are never played for just for laughs and their journey through their lives is satisfying. This boy has real steel inside him, but his emotions seem constantly ricochet between fight and flight. He is proud, smart, and hurting, and what we can see of his inner life is infinitely moving.

Viveca Lindfors, whose face seems to grow more beautiful with every gully, plays grandmother with a kind of wounded majesty that is right in keeping with the character's particular sort of misplacement. Talk about star presence: the frames she's in practically quiver with her power.

The emigrant struggle to build a new life in an alien land is familiar enough, but the observations of writer/director Yansen are especially revealing, giving us a picture of contemporary America through the eyes of newcomers that doesn't pull punches. Both mother and son face a very nearly overwhelming challenge in winning acceptance and opportunities worthy of them.

MISPLACED is a frank and fascinating picture of the stresses faced by immigrants to these shores. In scenes that are often short but telling, it handles a laundry list of situations, ranging from class distinctions to racism to sexual mores. The film's superb acting all but obscures any low budget flaw. The movie is funny, touching and beautifully modulated.

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