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The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  1 June 2007 (Spain)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,947 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 75 user | 48 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

In order to support her ten children, Evelyn Ryan (Moore) enters a commercial jingle-writing contest. Based on a true story.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dortha Schaefer
...
...
...
Ray the Milkman
Monté Gagné ...
Lea Anne Ryan at 17 yrs
...
Dick Ryan at 16 yrs
...
Bub Ryan at 15 yrs
...
Jake Scott ...
...
Ryan Price ...
Shae Norris ...
Barb Ryan at 4 yrs
Abigail Falle ...
Betsy Ryan at 2 yrs
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Storyline

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 Joe Jurca

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of how a mother raised ten kids on twenty-five words or less.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some disturbing images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 2007 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

La ganadora  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$159,056 (USA) (30 September 2005)

Gross:

$626,310 (USA) (18 November 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laura Dern was pregnant during filming. See more »

Goofs

Evelyn finally meets up with fellow contestants sometime in summer of 1963, where Dortha gives her entry form for a Dr Pepper contest. But closeup of entry form shows space for entrants to write their ZIP code, a new concept just introduced in July of that year, which did not appear on order blanks, etc. until well into 1964 or beyond, as many people did not understand what it was - certainly not just a month or so after it was introduced. See more »

Quotes

Leo "Kelly" Ryan: Do you hate me, Mother?
Evelyn Ryan: I'm still in shock right now. I'll have to let you know.
See more »

Connections

Features Queen for a Day (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
(1931)
Music by Harry Barris
Lyrics by Ted Koehler and Billy Moll
Performed by Dee Carstensen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The 2 hours just ZIPPED by
22 September 2005 | by (Miami, Fl.) – See all my reviews

I went into a screening of this film cold. I didn't know anything about it except that it starred Julianne Moore. I walked by a poster of the film on the way into the theater and was horrified, thinking it was going to be a chick flick.

Well, folks. When I go into a theater and I can't take my eyes off the screen and the movie goes by without me ever even checking my watch, I know I've seen a good movie.

Moore plays a woman with 10 children. Although her husband works as a machinist, she basically provides for the family by winning all sorts of contests for all kinds of big prizes, including big cash prizes. The woman is a master of winning these things. It's the one thing that's keeping her family together. She's definitely the hero and the one person everyone looks up to. Definitely an inspiration. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll stop at that, but I will say that Moore does a great job with her role.

Moore's husband in the movie, played by Woody Harrelson with emotional conviction and healthy dose of humanity, has a drinking problem and is a big source of tension inside the household. To the movie's credit, it doesn't paint the father as the typical one-note, evil, hateful,abusive, drunken father. There's a real character in there who loves his wife and kids and the movie does its best to portray him as fairly as possible despite his drinking problem and fits of rage.

The movie does bring out strong emotions from its audience, not quite a tear-jerker but close. It's not the sort of movie I would watch again and again because it's not my type of film, but I was glad for having seen it.

There's good acting, good pacing, a good story and possibly most important of all, it is told in an entertaining, gripping fashion. I wouldn't be surprised to find out if there is an Academy Award nomination in store for Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson.

At the end of the movie, there was a nice round of applause from the audience. I told one lady, "Wow, the two hours just went..." and I snapped my fingers. She said, "It just zipped by." I also heard several different people talking as I left the theater, "Did you like it?" "Yeah, it was great."

Go see it.


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