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Kelly and Evelyn Ryan live in Defiance, Ohio with their 10 children. At first glance their life seems idyllic; they call each other "Mother" and "Father" and seem to dote on the kids. But Kelly was a garage-band crooner whose voice was ruined in an auto accident. He's resigned to a dead-end factory job that barely pays the bills, and is given to fits of alcohol-induced rage. Evelyn, a stay-at-home wife and mother, deals with this abuse by appealing to her priest, who is no help at all. She deals with their poverty by entering the jingle contests that were the rage in the 50's and early 60's, even sending in multiple entries in the names of the children. She is very clever at it, winning more than her share of prizes, but her successes aren't enough to keep the wolf from the door. Further, they trigger Kelly's insecurities and he retreats deeper into the bottle, using food and mortgage money to support the habit. Can the loving, optimistic Evelyn hold the family together? Is she ... Written by
At the very end of the film, several children are seen fading in and out of the picture, which shows the passing of several years. One of the young boys is Evelyn Ryan's young grandson who happened to be there that day. See more »
On two different occasions, the characters talk about the radiator in the Ryan family car. They pronounce it with an A sound as in "hat". People in Northwest Ohio and Northeast Indiana do not say rAd-iator. That is largely a Philadelphia / South Jersey pronunciation. See more »
THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO is a great American film.
Julianne Moore delivers a performance that captures the essence of the American homemaker in the 1950's. Her strength of character and her intelligence which she utilizes to help clothe and feed her family and keep them together virtually anchors the film.
The cast, writing and locations enhance THE PRIZE WINNER, and create an air of authenticity on the screen which moves the story forward. The children, in all their ages, help produce such a powerful film and form the foundation for Julianne Moore's motivation to provide and take care of her family.
Woody Harrelson is tremendous, and visually watching his anger and pain explode at times in the film, makes the audience take note of what it must have meant for a father to fail as a breadwinner in the 1950's.
THE PRIZE WINNER takes you back to that time in American history when the thought of winning and capturing "The American Dream" was one you could accomplish with hard work and talent. Julianne Moore makes the film all the more powerful with her portrayal of an American mother who will use her brains and determination to keep her family together. This film is one of the best to come along in 2005.
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