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A THOUSAND ACRES is a drama about an American family who meets with tragedy on their land. It is the story of a father, his daughters, and their husbands, and their passion to subdue the history of their land and its stories. Written by
Jason Englisbe <email@example.com>
'A Thousand Acres' is one of the best books I've ever read and one of the worst movies I've ever seen, so obviously something was lost in the adaptation. On-set reports claimed that the director was trying to change the story radically while stars Lange and Pfeiffer attempted to keep it closer to the book. The director seems to have won out.
It's really a shame, because you couldn't ask for a better cast to bring 'Acres' to life. Jason Robards is dead-on as Larry, the psychologically damaged patriarch, and Lange, Pfeiffer, and Leigh have great chemistry as the three sisters. But good actors need good lines, and the screenplay doesn't give them any. The approach taken by the writer and director toward adapting Jane Smiley's brilliant, Pulitzer-prize winning novel seems to have been to simply stick all the dramatic, important scenes together and leave out the nuances and character development that made the story so special.
In fairness, 'Acres' couldn't have been easy to adapt; it has more than enough scope to make a movie trilogy or an entire series of television. Perhaps it was a mistake, then, to try to keep the beginning, middle and end essentially the same as the book. This approach shows us all the effects and none of the causes. Especially confusing is the scant 105 minute running time, which is only slightly longer than your average Adam Sandler movie. If the director and studio had been willing to make this a 3-hour film, it might have had a chance. As it stands, the movie plays like a highlight reel of the book, and that's not enough to involve the viewer emotionally.
'A Thousand Acres' is a fantastic story, though the movie would try hard to convince you otherwise. Pick up the book and see for yourself.
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