Heartland (2016) was directed by Maura Anderson. It stars Velinda Godfrey as Lauren, a young lesbian woman whose partner has just died. Lauren moves back to her family home in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to live with her mother, Crystal. (Played amazingly well by Beth Grant.) Crystal has been a widow for 15 years. She spends her time scrapbooking and going to church. She's unfailingly cheerful. She loves her daughter, but won't accept the fact that Lauren is a lesbian.
Enter Lauren's brother, Justin (Aaron Leddick), who knows how to pray when he has to pray, and how to earn money when there's money to be earned. His fiancé, Carrie (Laura Spencer) is from the Napa Valley, and she's out of place in Guthrie. When Justin has to leave on a business trip, it falls to Lauren to provide guidance for Carrie about the Guthrie culture. That's where the plot really begins.
I enjoyed this film, but it wasn't a movie I would recommend enthusiastically. It was interesting, but not ultimately satisfying.
We saw this film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, as the opening movie of ImageOut, the outstanding LGBTQ film festival. This was Heartland's New York State Premiere.( Everyone assumes that any independent film that will open in NYS will open in New York City. Not always.)
Director Maura Anderson was present for Q&A after the film. What she saw as the strength of her film was what made me slightly uncomfortable. Nothing really was resolved at the end. That's the film she wanted, and that's the film she made. I'm impressed at the way she carried out her concept from the start to the finish, and I give her my compliments.
P.S. For some reason IMDb won't accept my vote for this movie. I would have given it an 8.
P.P.S. Although Guthrie is only about 20 mile outside of Oklahoma City, it really is a rural part of the state. The National Finals Steer Roping Rodeo is held in Guthrie.
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