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Big Eden is a tiny fictional town in northwestern Montana, as Preston Sturges or Frank Capra might have envisioned it. Timber and Cowboy country. This is the story of Henry Hart, a successful New York Artist, who returns to the town of his childhood to care for the ailing grandfather who raised him. Back in Big Eden, Henry must come to terms with his relationship to Dean Stewart, his best friend from high School, as well as the object of his unrequited love. All these years Henry has been pining for a dream image of Dean from back then. This is also the story of Pike Dexter, the shy, unassuming Native American owner of the town's general store, who is as surprised as anyone to find himself falling in love with Henry. The people of Big Eden conspire and attempt to bring Henry and Pike together. Written by
Listen, you know what they say when you get lost in the woods? If you stay put, stay in one place and don't wander, they'll find you. And I was just hoping you'd let yourself be found this time. I was hoping you'd let us find you. But you keep wandering and we can't.
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Unbelievably wonderful performances by all the main actors in "Big Eden" make for one of the best movies I have ever seen.
Arye Gross plays Henry, a New Yorker who returns home to the rural West when to take care of his ailing grandfather. There he runs into his old friend Dean (played by the irresistible Tim DeKay), seemingly bisexual but it turns out he is straight, who is now divorced, with 2 children. The old fascination with Dean is rekindled - but meanwhile another man from his past, Pike (played with amazing depth and dignity by Eric Schweig), a Native American, is smitten with Henry.
Henry is no cook, so he arranges for the Widow Thayer - played by Nan Martin in the most delightfully memorable manner - to cook meals for he and his ailing grandfather Sam (the wonderful George Coe). Widow Thayer's meals are horrible (famously horrible) so Pike starts to cook Henry & Sam's meals himself without telling them. He is totally in love with Henry, but can't work up the nerve to let him know so. He just pours his love into the meals that he prepares.
Will Henry & Pike get together? Or will Henry remain smitten with Dean? This delightful film doesn't let you know until the end.
One of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen in a film takes place in this film: Pike sees a painting that Henry did of stars at night. He then tells a story from his tribe about children who floated up into the sky and became stars. I won't attempt to tell the story here, but I assure you that this one story is one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear or see. It applies perfectly to Henry's situation, but it is a story that anyone can relate to and learn from.
"Big Eden" is simple yet elegant. It is country yet universal. It is "Andy of Mayberry" for the modern era, a microcosm of how the world ought to be. So stunningly beautiful that you will want to watch it over and over and over again.
Bravo! to everyone associated with this loving, magnificent film!
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