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Vinegar Hill (2005)

| Drama | TV Movie 2005
A family story about how a daughter-in-law withstands the pressure from her husband's parents.



(novel), (teleplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fritz Grier
Hollis McLaren ...
Salome (as Hollis Mclaren)
Ellen's Mother
Amy Grier
Bert Grier
Tom Welton
Mary Margaret Grier
Francis Fontaine ...
Father Bork
Woman in Store
Woman in Bar


Jake Grier left his domineering father Fritz's farm in small-town Grumbach to try making it as painter in Chicago, but has to move back when his wife Ellen looses her city teaching job and another in the high-school where they met. The move is resented from the start by their children, pre-teen Bert, whom grandpa scares, and rebellious young teen Amy. Fritz also bosses and humiliates Jake constantly, while his brother Mitch, who died in a car accident years ago, is idolized. Grdaually, a dark past lurks back, while Jake's marriage starts falling apart as both spouses are irresistibly attracted to earlier local lovers, in her case sheriff Tom Welton. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La colline aux adieux  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Good, I suppose, but depressing
29 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

Ellen and Jake both grew up on farms in Wisconsin, in a community called Grambah. Jake's brother Mitch turned out the way his father wanted, but Jake wanted to be an artist and he never could please his father. In high school, Ellen and Tom were prom queen and king, but Jake wanted to be with Ellen.

Ellen and Jake did end up together, and they had two children, Amy and Bert. Jake sold art supplies in Chicago, but now he has lost his job and Ellen has gotten a job teaching at St. Michael's, the school she and Jake graduated from. The children hate the idea of leaving the big city, but until Jake can find a job and the family can afford a house, they will have to live with his parents Fritz and Mary Margaret at "Vinegar Hill". Fritz is still farming and impossible to please, and Mary Margaret copes, trying to hide the fact she is still grieving over the loss of her son. Ellen's best friend from high school is now teaching there, and it's just like the old days again; she's SOOOO excited!

Jake ends up having to travel, which puts additional strain on a marriage that is already in trouble. Tom, now the sheriff, has never gotten over Ellen. Jake also meets someone, a beautiful lingerie saleswoman willing to listen. The children learn to deal with their new situation, while Fritz just gets more and more surly and demanding. Mary Margaret's sister Salome is a weird cat lady, though nothing compared to the one on "The Simpsons".

There are dark secrets in this community. A serial rapist has never been caught, and something is buried on Vinegar Hill.

Don't be misled by the opening. I suppose this could be called a family movie, but it's very dark, and moral standards seem kind of lax; it's hard to believe any of these people go to church, much less attend what appears to be a Christian school (the word Catholic is never used, but there is a "Father Bork" and communion appears to be distributed in the Catholic way). At the very least it would have to be a movie children would watch with their parents. I wouldn't recommend it for young children.

Tom Skerritt and Betty Buckley both give very good performances. I suppose the other actors do a good job too.

The mysteries turn out to be complicated and interesting, and the ending is satisfying though not particularly pleasant. We knew something bad was coming.

It seems like a typical CBS TV-movie from the days when Sundays were movie nights.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Quite possably the worst movie I've seen this year. DNut10
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