Doogie Howser plays Doogie Howser if he were sent back 100 years to Nebraska. Not a flaw on him, body or soul. He falls for a poor immigrant girl, Antonia, who lives in a sod hut and whose father commits suicide. And he's always true to her in spirit, as she is true to him.
The story is a good one, and the setting is beautiful--actually filmed in Nebraska, it seems. The setting is also unique in that rarely are prairie stories filmed. There are no cowboys and Indians, and no canyons and buttes: it's just flat earth, and people growing wheat, wheat and more wheat. The woman playing Antonia (Elina Löwensohn) was exceptional, but the others all looked too Hollywood to be in 1880s Nebraska. The grandparents(Jason Robards & Eva-Marie Saint) just seemed to be in a Celebrex commercial rather than in an adaptation of a classic novel set in a long-ago time. And Doogie Howser was great to look at--no wonder he was so easy for the girls to love--but his whole character was too good to be true. Yet, the film delivers, even if it definitely has the feel of a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. No swearin', no sex, even though it seems as though Antonia got herself employed at a whorehouse. I guess we're seeing it through Doogie's eyes, and to him she's just a waitress and a dime-a-dance girl.
I don't know if this has been made into a real movie, but it would be good to see it without the feel-good gloss. At least the ending is not the expected one.
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