Sweet Land (2005)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 July 2008 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,013 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 60 user | 43 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

In 1920, Inge, a German national, travels from Norway to rural Minnesota for her arranged marriage to Olaf, a Norwegian farmer; bureaucracy and prejudice cause major complications.



(short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat"),
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Inge
Old Inge
Young Lars
Stephen Pelinski ...
Old Lars
Young Olaf
Old Olaf
Young Frandsen
Old Frandsen
Donna Torvik
Mae Torvik
Kirsten Frantzich ...
Stephen Yoakam ...
Einar Torvik
Rose Torvik
James Cada ...
Minister Thorwald
Sarah Torvik


As Inge buries her husband Olaf on their Minnesota farm in 1968, we relive her life story as she tells her grown grandson about how she arrived from Germany in 1920 as Olaf's postal bride and of the obstacles they overcame in order to marry... Written by Lillian LaSalle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every journey ends at home. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief partial nudity and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

31 July 2008 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Wedding Photo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$41,860 (USA) (13 October 2006)


$1,706,325 (USA) (6 July 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Elizabeth Reasers' Norwegian pronunciation was so bad that after Dagbladet (one of Norway's biggest news-papers) stumbled upon this film, they posted a clip from it with the title "What is she trying to say?" See more »


In several prominent scenes both on farmsteads and in the church, there is a farmer with a "Carhartt logo" on his work jacket. Although the Carhartt company made work clothes since 1889, in the 1920's they were mostly worn by railroad workers, not farmers. In addition, the "C" type logo was not used until much later. See more »


Brownie: You hungry? hungry?
[rubs stomach]
Inge: I could eat a horse.
Brownie: Well we could find dat.
See more »


Eskimo Kisses
Music and Lyrics by Thomas Lieberman (as T.F. Lieberman)
Published by Liza Rose Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Thomas Lieberman (as Tom Lieberman)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A lovely film which deserves to be widely seen
23 December 2006 | by (Syracuse, New York) – See all my reviews

'Sweet Land' manages a difficult feat: it is a historical film with a clear message for the present, yet it avoids becoming either nostalgically cloying or preachily shrill. "Banking and farming don't mix" is not merely a phrase heard several times; it is the key to the confrontation of two utterly different, and utterly irreconcilable, attitudes toward land and life. Ned Beatty, as the chief banker, embodies the one, driven by money and power, harshly and repellently (it's a superb performance), but he and his few allies, and what they stand for, cannot completely overwhelm what most of the other characters, major and minor, believe in and represent: the importance of human connections, with each other and with the jobs they must carry out.

There is scarcely a false step in this film. Elizabeth Reaser brings Inge to life completely believably and very poignantly. We truly care about this woman, a fact made all the more astonishing when we realize that for a sizable part of the film she speaks in languages most of the American audience will not understand. It's one of the best performances I've seen in a long time. Similarly convincing is Tim Guinee as Olaf, her perplexed husband-to-be. His struggles to overcome prejudice (his own and that of his neighbors) are played with a delightful mix of humor, pathos, and inner strength which mirror the complex set of forces with which he must deal. Much the same could be said, albeit on a smaller scale, of the lesser parts; these performers inhabit these roles as if they had already lived them for real. Watch the interactions between Alan Cumming and Alex Kingston, for example; these are two people who are deeply and genuinely in love, but who recognize and accept the flaws of the other. There is no conventional 'happy marriage' insipidity here-- with the result that their marriage comes across as truly happy in a far more profound manner than so many others on screen.

Visually the film is often lovely. It is not as lusciously filmed as Terrence Malick's 'Days of Heaven', with which it shares an underlying approach, but it also avoids the occasional glossiness which undercut the down-to-earth elements of the earlier film's plot. Here the images rarely feel forced, and never overwhelm the intense sense of physical presence so vital to both plot and message. Also powerful is the use of two framing stories, linked to but not dependent upon the central plot. Indeed, the emotional climax of the film actually resides in the contemporary story, something we will not realize until almost the very end of the film. What seems a mere narrative trick suddenly resonates with tremendous power, and brings home the film's central theme beautifully yet without undue emphasis.

The flaws are few. The music, usually vaguely folksy without being especially engaging, is more than once rather too modern in its feel and too diffuse in its impact to support the visuals. The music is the weakest element in the film; at times it sounds almost as if the decision to add music was taken so late in production that all that was possible was some improvisational doodling, which fits neither the delicately shaped mood nor the careful pacing and structuring of the action. The important part of Minister Sorrensen is a bit awkwardly written, with his changes of outlook being rather too sudden; John Heard's performance, though thoughtful, could likewise be more nuanced (he was probably responding to the part as written, but in this case he would have been better off to play against the script).

'Sweet Land' is a beautiful, funny, and often very moving film, with a deep and respectful sense of history and human relations. Both the action and the thoughts it provokes will linger long after the curtain closes. The film has much to offer, and I recommend it very highly.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is 'Inge' supposed to be a norwegian woman? janingar
Thumbs Down moepop-1
Where was the farm again? bearbloke
Pastor's actions are unbiblical gata86
That wasn't Norwegian deepsharp
For those complaining about language spoken in the film spensolo
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