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
An artist living in NYC returns home to Big Eden, a rural area of Montana, to care for his ailing grandfather. The artist gets reacquainted with people from his past, including an old high school friend. Romantic complications ensue.
This is not a film for viewers looking for lots of fast paced action and excitement. It's more of a character study that focuses on the lives of warm-hearted, ordinary people who are caring and sensitive. People spend a lot of time cooking and eating. (I don't recall a film in which there was so much food). More idealistic than realistic, the film's underlying contemporary message is a welcome change from the usual Hollywood gloom and doom theme. On the other hand, some of the relationships between characters are not obvious, which renders a slightly muddled story.
Overall, "Big Eden" is a well-made movie with good production design, adroit cinematography (that captures a beautiful landscape), and fine acting. And, I like the Tex-Mex music, though to someone like me who lives in Texas, the music seems a little out of place ... so to speak. But maybe not.
One of the best things about "Big Eden" is the inclusion of Nan Martin as an elderly gadabout. With her deep-throated voice and her animated expressions, she stands out as a unique, and thoroughly entertaining, actress. Would love to see her in more films.
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