6.8/10
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Shy People (1987)

R | | Drama | 11 March 1988 (USA)
New York journalist visits her distant cousin for the first time to write an article about her hard life in the bayous of Louisiana. Journalist's wild drug addicted daughter just adds to tensions between two families' cultures.

Director:

Andrey Konchalovskiy (as Andrei Konchalovsky)

Writers:

Andrey Konchalovskiy (story) (as Andrei Konchalovsky), Gérard Brach (screenplay) (as Gerard Brach) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jill Clayburgh ... Diana
Barbara Hershey ... Ruth
Martha Plimpton ... Grace
Merritt Butrick ... Mike
John Philbin ... Tommy
Don Swayze ... Mark
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Paul
Mare Winningham ... Candy
Michael Audley Michael Audley ... Louie
Brad Leland ... Larry
Tony Epper Tony Epper ... Jake
Paul Landry Paul Landry ... Henry
Warren Battiste Warren Battiste ... Dick
Edward Bunker ... Chuck
Vladimir Bibic Vladimir Bibic ... Welder
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Storyline

New York pretentious Diana Sullivan is writing a series of articles on the theme of "family" for Cosmopolitan magazine. Primarily to keep an eye on her but also because of the personal connection, Diana invites her mid-teen daughter, Grace Sullivan, to accompany her on a trip to research the next in the series, dealing with their own family, most specifically a wing that lives deep in the backwaters of the Louisiana bayou, which has been largely overtaken by oil companies of late. They are most directly connected by brothers: Diana's grandfather Mike, and Joe, the patriarch of the Louisiana wing. Diana and Grace have never met their Louisiana relations, they in turn who do not even know that Diana and Grace exist. As difficult as it becomes, Diana and Grace are able to meet their Louisiana relations, led by Joe's widowed young wife, Ruth Sullivan, who acts as if Joe is still with them, who sees anything related to the city as suspect, and who rules her household with an iron fist to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bayou | independent film | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 March 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gente como nosotros See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$769,119
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cannon Group See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was #4 on Roger Ebert's list of the Best Films of 1988. See more »

Quotes

Ruth: You silly people, you, you all warm like dishwater, that don't do nobody no good.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Alien from L.A. (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Shy People
Written and Arranged by Tangerine Dream
Lyrics by Ron Boustead
Vocal Performance Arranged by Michael Bishop
Produced and Mixed by Michael Bishop and Barry Rudolph
See more »

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User Reviews

A mixed bag
15 May 2012 | by Zen-2-ZenSee all my reviews

It's hard to even put one's finger on what Konchalovskiy actually thought he was doing because as a whole the film doesn't hold together and looks rather fragmented. Maybe he wanted to do a horror flick or he didn't even have a coherent concept but just went shooting and hoping that something will come out of it?

The script has distinctive feeling of an old school Russian theatrical play - too much pathos and sharp separations between formal acts. That damages the flow and makes it look too verbal and melodramatic (which does work for live theater), as if it was used because they (3 writers) didn't have enough ideas for a smooth flow. Also a retard son was a cliché without any purpose or history.

The cast was very uneven in quality and makes me think that maybe Konchalovskiy run out of ideas on what do do with actors. Barbara Hershey has done a great job but the character is still monotone and that's a direction flaw (she has done enough very different characters to be able to portray a character transition). Martha Plimpton did well as Grace but it looks like she was left to her own devices and she needed directional help to go from "well" to "great". Jill Clayburgh was abysmal, ruined half of the flick and made me think how would Meryl Strip or Glenn Close make that role fly sky high.

Cinematography was way to much of a Chris Menges showing off and not thinking about the whole. In some scenes it looks so artificial that it make you snap out of the flow. Also it's way too much of a flat gray and lacking a range which is a trap that indulgent cinematographers sometimes fall into. Whatever he saw as gradations of gray on the set is lost even on celluloid and turns into a smudge in digital.

Portraying eerie requires enough contrast for the audience at large to see visual structure instead of a flat surface. Some thinking and effort to transition from say lush green to foggy to rainy to "vapor above a water" and some testing to check what is realistically discernible on screen with the tech at hand.


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