A drama that swoops in on Empire Falls, an economically depressed mill town in Maine, and lifetime resident Miles Roby, who's run the town's top restaurant for some twenty years. Miles is surrounded by his newly thin wife, meddling father, and hostile boss. Written by
Although everyone should read the book - it will pull you in and you'll know the real Maine and the people who live there - this film is the next best thing. The script is amazingly deft, the acting is brilliant, and the production design and values are beautiful and true to the source. Paul Newman completely embodies Miles'incorrigible father and never fails to light up the screen while completely exasperating you - like he must do to everyone who comes in contact with him. Ed Harris portrays Miles as the complex and very subtle person with a thoughtful quietness that lets you know both why people are drawn to him as well as gives you clues why he keeps these same people at a perceptible distance. The rest of the cast members are just as distinguished in their roles. (The talent quotient is unbelievably high!) As amazing as this production is on just about every level (except for the music, which is irredeemably cheesy but fortunately mostly unobtrusive) credit must be given first and foremost to Richard Russo for writing characters so real and so complex and nuanced, and dialogue that is realistically elliptical that the real pull of the movie is not waiting to see what happens, but in getting to know the characters better. These are all ordinary people and what makes them interesting is not what they do, but those subtle things that make them who they are. This is why the mini-series format was perfect. It gives the viewer the opportunity to get to know Empire Falls. My only wish is that at some point one could see this on the big screen. Certainly the mythical town of Empire Falls (and the real town that it represents) is an important character and IT'S crowded on the small screen.
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