Rural Louisiana, summer of 1957, Elvis is King. At 14, Dani is coming of age. Her older sister is beautiful, smart, and off to Duke in the fall; her mom's pregnant with number four (Dad wants a son), and Dad's pretty strict. Life gets sweeter when 17-year-old Court Foster, his widowed mom, and two little brothers move into the vacant farm next door. Court likes Dani's high spirits and direct way, and though he has a man's responsibilities on the farm, they go off swimming sometimes. The waters of adolescence are deeper than Dani realizes as hers and Court's feelings get jumbled. Then Mother Nature throws wrenching surprises at Dani, and she must come to terms with new emotions.Written by
Written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Performed by Elvis Presley
Published by Gladys Music (ASCAP), Jerry Leiber Music (ASCAP) and Mike Stoller Music (ASCAP)
Gladys Music administered by Chappell & Co.
Courtesy of RCA Records See more »
Little Big Movie
It's a generic coming-of-age story -- think "The Member of the Wedding," "Summer of '42," "A Summer Place," even "Little Women" -- and there are moments where Mulligan might have omitted the soupy music, not used slow-motion, or played down the golden-lit prettiness of the setting. Otherwise, it's done with rare emotional perfect-pitch. Nothing's forced, every line has feeling, and the pacing is just right. Even the below-A-list casting helps: Bigger movie stars with more recognizable personalities might have overwhelmed the material. In particular, Witherspoon is excellent: Her line readings are fresh and original, and her body language is just right for a gawky, hoydenish 14-year-old on the eve of womanhood. Waterston is also very fine, even if he has to spend much of the movie climbing in and out of the family truck.
One senses that the film's makers were aware of its unpromising commercial prospects -- no big stars, no big car crashes, no special effects -- and consciously decided to make the best possible movie, box office be damned. It's intimate and honest, and it sticks to the ribs. If you find yourself misting up at the end, you don't have to feel you've been duped.
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