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The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 554 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 22 user | 33 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. Castigated as a pariah in his community, Farmer John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and arson. He ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
John Peterson ...
Himself
Anna Nielsen ...
Herself, mother of John Peterson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Edwards ...
Himself
Lester Peterson ...
Himself, father of John Peterson (archive footage)
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Storyline

The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. Castigated as a pariah in his community, Farmer John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and arson. He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary

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Release Date:

20 January 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En sann farmare  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,376 (USA) (20 January 2006)

Gross:

$12,376 (USA) (20 January 2006)
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User Reviews

 
Full of Heart and Soul
1 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Some movies are so full of heart and soul, are so much a reflection of their times, they feel like they were, in some strange way, destined to be made, and to make a mark, not only in the world of cinema, but in the American social fabric, as well. The Real Dirt on Farmer John is such a movie. At this time, many of us are yearning for a more truly compassionate and caring nation, for a more inclusive and understanding society, for a return to deeper, more spiritual values, and a sense of personal (rather than corporate) empowerment. Now along comes the maverick, All-American, Farmer John Peterson, a real third-generation Illinois farmer, and his true story of soil-based soul, devastation during the farm debt crisis of the 1980s, and resurrection in the 90s as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm now serving 1200 families in the Chicago area. Filmmaker Taggart Siegel has effectively woven together Peterson's home movies from the 1950s, with footage from the 70s (when the farm was a hippie art commune), the 80s (when Peterson lost almost everything), from Mexico (where he sought solace and healing from his failure), the 90s (when Peterson experienced his resurrection) and recent years, as the farm now brims with organic produce, student farmers, families and children. The film reflects the struggles of American family farmers over the last fifty years and, more importantly, the universal Hero's Journey through life, death and rebirth. The scenes of Peterson with his mother overflow with love. But love and deep caring are the essence of the film. And at a time when we are bombarded with darkly cynical fare, The Real Dirt on Farmer John is the deep, fresh, lively flavor that will most satisfy our hunger for goodness and meaning. To be savored, like a fine meal ….


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