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Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991)

A single New England woman responds to an advertisement by a Midwestern widower in which he asks for a bride to help him raise his two children.

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(book), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Maggie Grant (as Margaret Sophie Stein)
Jon DeVries ...
Christopher Bell ...
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Woody Watson ...
Betty Laird ...
Marc Penney ...
Kara Beth Taylor ...
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Storyline

Set around the turn of the century. Jacob, a widowed farmer with two small children, places an ad in a paper for a new wife. The ad is answered by a spinster in Maine, who writes letters to them and describes herself as "plain and tall." And she takes a trip to Jacob's farm to see if she can make a difference. Written by Kathy Li

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Plot Keywords:

children | letter | farmer | farm | maine | See All (106) »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

G

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Details

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Release Date:

3 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Sarah, Plain and Tall (#40.2)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Movie writer, Patricia MacLachlan said that the story was based on a true life event from her family's history. See more »

Quotes

Anna Witting: [playfully] I thought when you were born, I said you were homely and plain. And you had terrible holler and a horrid smell.
Caleb Witting: [sadly] And that it was my fault mama died the next morning?
Anna Witting: [walks over to Caleb and hugs him] I never thought that Caleb. Never. I forgot to say good night to her, that's all I could think about.
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Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Bart's Girlfriend (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Come all ye fair and tender ladies
Traditional American song
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I loved the book so much more
24 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

This seems to be a minority opinion, but I actually liked the book "Sarah, Plain and Tall" much better than the movie. The book is spare, poetic and lovely. The romance of Jacob and Sarah is in the background, but Anna and Caleb's hopes to have a new mother are almost palpable. The lack of details allows rich play for the imagination, and Patricia MacLachlan is an absolute master at evoking the sights, the sounds, the very texture of the world in which her characters live. When Jacob puts his arm around Sarah for the first time in the book, it is a delightful surprise and it means so much because we are seeing it through the eyes of the children who so very much want Sarah to stay. The movie, by filling in all the gaps, and filling it with conversations which to me, felt too modern for the times, lost a lot of the magic of the story. Glenn Close did a wonderful job of embodying Sarah, but she was a little too adept in her ability to analyze Jacob's lingering grief and anger -- in those days they didn't do as much emotional analysis as we do now, and anyway, how would a spinster who lived with three elderly aunts know about a widower's inability to let go of grief? I think perhaps if I hadn't read the book first and loved it so deeply, I may have liked the movie more than I did. The book was a perfect example of the old writing adage, "show, don't tell," but ironically, the movie did way too much telling and not enough showing.


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