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School nurse Alice Goodwin lives with her husband and two daughters on a dairy farm in a small Wisconsin community. After an accident on her property involving a friend's child, the town turns against her and Alice finds herself fighting charges of child abuse. Written by
At the heart of Scott Elliot's drab, soapy screen version of Jane Hamilton's novel is a terrific performance by Sigourney Weaver as a woman accused of child abuse. She is a school nurse who hates her job, is unhappy in her marriage and in whose care her best friend's daughter drowns. Jail is a kind of redemption. The film ought to shake you up, but Elliot imbues it with a kind of cold, clinical detachment. It's like a blueprint for emotion and, while Weaver is very powerful, the material never touches you. As the friend whose daughter dies, Julianne Moore touches a few nerves and David Strathairn is very fine as Weaver's dull, uncomprehending, caring husband. But they are all acting in a vacuum. You don't care what happens to anybody.
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