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Michael Landon Jr.
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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
I remember reading the book, Sarah, Plain and Tall, as a small child, probably for school or something. In most cases, movies based on books are usually a let-down, but this movie, in my opinion, was even better than the book itself. It's a wonderful story of a young mail-order bride who travels from her home in Maine to the vast strangeness of undeveloped, prarie-town, Kansas. One of the things I really liked about this movie was that it didn't have any sticky-sweetness that is common in family films. Sarah, the main character, is far from perfect, and there is a constant battle-of-wills between her and Jacob. Probably the biggest conflict in the film, besides the fact that Sarah is extremely homesick, is that Jacob expects Sarah to be like his late wife--who seems to have been a quiet, gentle woman. Sarah is nice, but she is also stubborn and quick to speak her mind. She and Jacob have to come to terms with each other, over and over again. Jacob's character was well-written. He's a man trying to raise his family the best he knows how, but he can't seem to let go of his late wife. He blames himself for her death, and seems almost afraid to let his children remember her. He doesn't have much room in his heart for Sarah, but she barges in anyway, neatly disobeying him and breaking down the walls in his heart. The children were very good as well--Anna struggles with accepting Sarah, and her growing fondness towards her. Calab loves Sarah, simply because he is small and doesn't remember his real mother. I thought the story line was great, as was the actual casting. Glenn Close doesn't usually play such wholesome, family roles, but she actually pulled it off, which proves, of course, that's she's a terrific actress in any role. She was convincing as Sarah, and gave her a little added spice... Christopher Walken, also, was great as the father, who, I think, falls for Sarah without really realizing it. The children, played by Lexi Randell and Christopher Bell, fit snugly into their roles. The whole movie is a very touching family story. I give it ten stars, for a wonderful performance.
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