In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow with two small children tries to save her small 40-acre farm with the help of a blind boarder and an itinerant black handyman.In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow with two small children tries to save her small 40-acre farm with the help of a blind boarder and an itinerant black handyman.In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow with two small children tries to save her small 40-acre farm with the help of a blind boarder and an itinerant black handyman.
The film tells the tale of a good, kind, loving, and strong woman, the widow, Emma (who has been left with with two children to raise on her own) and the pair of disparate characters who help her to literally 'save the farm'...the black drifter, Moze, who plants her cotton, and the intriguing blind border, Mr. Will, that she is forced to take on to appease the nasty banker. Because of mortgage difficulties, Emma's farm and in fact, her life are always in the hands of the local bank manager. The unlikely bond between the trio (Emma, Moze, and Mr. Will) and their shared struggle is always the very heart of the film. There are, however, other local small town characters portrayed here, including a sub-plot revolving around a pair of married folk engaged in an adulterous affair.
It's all so much more meaningful than yet another film about a widow's romance. I don't know that the local couple's affair contributes much to the movie, unless, Hollywood style, there just had to be some sexual implications of some sort or other somewhere. Many others seem to agree that this sub-plot is superfluous.
The other major roles are well cast, with Danny Glover and John Malkovich sympathetically portraying respectively Moze and Mr. Wills. As for the man involved in the affair, Ed Harris (whom I actually kinda like) always does a brilliant job portraying any sort of somewhat sleazy character!
Memorable moments...One moving scene has lingered in my mind all these years, when the newly widowed Emma helps prepare the body of her sheriff husband, Royce, for burial. This is of course so alien to us today, when compared with our modern detached funeral parlors. There is an amazing tornado scene, wonderfully photographed, that brilliantly conveys the terror of the characters seeking shelter. Plenty of high drama there! The movie also has anti-racism themes, with a dramatic scenario involving some local Ku Klux Klan members or equivalent, in which Mr. Will plays a pivotal role. And a fabulous, touching scene where Emma dances at a community shindig with her young son, Frank. I recalled it vividly a few years later during a 'first dance' with my own son.
Certainly not an action flick, but a thoughtful, touching, heartwarming story with very sympathetic characters that will engage you and earn a place in YOUR heart. The movie has a quietly dramatic ending some have questioned, but I personally found it perfect. As another reviewer cleverly noted, it 'seals' the film.
- Mar 15, 2006