Far and Away (1992)
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This movie is broken down into three distinct parts: 1 - Ireland (40 minutes, featuring some stunning scenery and good Irish music); 2 - Boston (one hour, featuring many brutal scenes of tough Irish immigrants and bare-knuckle fights); 3 - Oklahoma (the days on mining and the famous "land rush.")
The story is very intense and involving. One well-known critic called it "old-fashioned" and meant it as an insult. Well, I think the opposite. I agree that it's old-fashioned, in that it's epic storytelling and that's a good thing. It features solid acting by Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and all the others, and Kidman isn't the only attractive thing in there. The photography is magnificent. I only wish the sound was better as there is almost nothing from the rear speakers.
Cruise is very convincing as a good man, so much so I hated to see some of those beatings he took in the Boston segment. Then again, I'm old-fashioned: I don't like to see the bad guys win over the good guys.
Overall, a memorable movie and one that you truly will care about the characters and the final outcome.
Shannon is a very upper class lady in Ireland with her controlling mother who wishes her to marry a snobbish land owner, Stephen. Joesph is a farm boy who has just lost his father and his home has been burned by Stephen, Shannon's father owns the land, so Joesph goes to kill him, but fails. His punishment is a duel, but he and Shannon see each other and have an instant connection but won't admit it of course, but Shannon offers for him to come with her to America to claim some land with her. He accepts her offer and goes with her. They claim to be brother and sister to survive, but soon they can no longer resist each other's love, but their family may be too strong to let them be together when Shannon's family comes to get her in America.
Far and Away is a very charming film that I'm sure you will be impressed with. It's just a very romantic film, has fun comedy to it, good drama, and has terrific pictures and sights. Ron Howard is just a fine director, he got the whole feel of the old days and that race for land at the end was just shot so beautifully. Tom and Nicole did a great job, they were so beautiful to watch and made this into a great film. I highly recommend this movie, I think you'll love it.
The story of Far and Away takes place in a very specific time period in the history of both Ireland and America. In Ireland the home rule movement had been dealt a stunning blow with the fall of Charles Stuart Parnell in scandal. Independence had been set back and the landlords were riding high, though not without opposition.
Opposition in this case comes in the form of Tom Cruise and his family who are Irish tenant farmers about to be tossed off their land because they can't pay the exorbitant rents. Turns out the landlord's got a most fetching daughter in Nicole Kidman who's got her eye on the peasant lad.
Far and Away is first and foremost a romance, the rich girl and the poor boy, two beautiful young people we all wish we were. Of course the real affair of Tom and Nicole and their eventual marriage is fairy tale storybook stuff on its own. It sure didn't hurt the film.
They've got a rough road ahead though. In Boston they get exploited by their own people as badly as the English are doing in the old country. Of course their eventual salvation is the Oklahoma land rush where Tom can get his own land to work.
Frederick Jackson Turner was a famous American historian who put forth the thesis that the reason America escaped the class struggles and revolutions of Europe was our frontier. It didn't work out so well for those Indians already there, but the proletarian masses instead of becoming a mob that agitators could stir to revolution just went west and made opportunities. Turner's thesis is still a widely respected paradigm in the study of American history and I think if he could have seen Far and Away, he'd say Ron Howard proved his point.
Speaking of Ron Howard, it's pretty obvious he was influenced by both versions of the Oklahoma land rush previously made in the two films of Edna Ferber's classic Cimarron. He doesn't do badly in recreating Boston of the Gay Nineties and Ireland of the same period.
And Tom and Nicole certainly look beautiful even when she's working in a factory and Tom's getting clobbered in a bare knuckle prize fight. Look for nice performances by Robert Prosky as Nicole's father, Thomas Gibson as Tom's rival for Nicole and Colm Meaney as the Irish political boss in Boston.
Maybe the world needs a frontier to solve its problems.
Most films never develop an audience, and even fewer develop one that transcends generations. `Far and Away' appeals to adults and young people, so much so, that it has recently been re-released in DVD format. It has also established a niche in television rebroadcasts. These annuals rebroadcasts put the lie to the "wisdom" of the critics, and prove the films natural popularity with movie-lovers.
I didn't have such terrible memories of Far and Away, last seen when I was little more than a kid - probably for a number of factors, including John Williams' slick soundtrack, Enya's memorable Book of Days, my schoolboy crush for the young and radiant redhead Nicole Kidman... and mostly for the premise of the Oklahoma Land Rush, a fascinating topic.
Watching it as an adult, Far and Away is bad. Being a Ron Howard movie, emotions register with the subtlety of a stampede of buffaloes; the camera swoops around emphatically, rotates, takes flight; character moments are corny, comedic scenes juvenile. People complain about, say, Spielberg's populism and lack of sophistication... but, compared to Howard, good ol' Steven is as thematically dense and thought-provoking as Stanley Kubrick.
Kidman and Cruise, who later became competent (in Kidman's case even great) performers, here are just coasting on their looks. Cruise in particular attempts an Irish accent which sounds like he has a moribund but petulant leprechaun stuck in his larynx.
Blatantly obvious continuity errors make this 'film' look like a home movie shot by children and edited by a monkey. As someone who is Irish, the accents by both the leads were unbearable and over the top, as well as several occasions when Tom's American accent emerges. The acting was overly bad, the characters completely uninteresting, the storyline long-winded and predictable, and the script thoroughly stupid. Stupid is the word I would use to describe this movie, as everything from the plot, to the editing was utterly stupid.
I'd hate to see what a historian of this time period would think of this film, as it doesn't seem to be researched at all. According to the goofs on IMDb, American flags used in the movie had 50 stars, when at the time the official flag had only 44. But, because movies are essentially to entertain, not to be analysed, I gave this movie two stars more than it deserves because it does to a certain point, entertain. But more so from parts like when Kidman falls into the mud and comes out sparkling clean a moment later, than the parts of the movie that are meant to be entertaining.
I nearly died when I saw this movie. I actually never saw the end as I could not - well not without cringing behind the couch - watch the rest of this film.
I have been in the remotest part of Ireland and never heard anything this bad.
Please Hollywood treat the Irish accent with respect and stop all this nonsense.
The first thing one I learned in screen writing class is as follows: Don't let your actors blab expository information. One of the first thing Joseph (Tom Cruise) says is: "I don't want to fight you." What he really wants to do it talk your ear off. When he feels his land has been stolen he promptly says: "I think I'll go kill the bloke who took my land." (or something to that effect) That's it. No internal conflict necessary here, folks. Of course, we already have been force-fed Joseph's personality due to a two-minute monologue concerning him being his dying Da. Later, Kidman does the same thing. "You wonder why I'm running away?" she asks Joe. "Well, I'll tell you." Do people do that in real life? Sure. It's called processing. But in the movies, it's false empathy.
Let's move on. Is there love in this movie? Oh I was definitely feeling the lust. Dolman/ Howard made that quite clear in various sequences of partial/hidden nudity. Ah the joy of a censored director. But love? Nah. Too little chemistry, driven by the usual emotional triggers (another man, another woman, a lusty old dude, a gunshot wound, charged bickering, drunkenness and a bathtub).
Cruise's accent? Not for me. Kidman looks beautiful and acts splendidly. Some great work from Colm Meany in the mid-section (probably the better slice of the story).
The whole thing falls apart gloriously in the last thirty minutes, where we understand nothing (why is Kidman's family vying for territory?), huge themes are destroyed (Joseph's prudishness? The value of honest work? The desperation of the times?) in order to create a huge slam-bash finish in a race for land. As if this entire thing had been about land vs. love... Or has it been? In the midst of convoluted plot lines, was that really IT?
The #1 worst excuse for a bad movie is "Great photography/costumes/action." Far and Away doesn't give us anything we haven't seen before, and sure Ireland's great but you can always rent a helicopter video.
The first third is basically Braveheart, the second Gangs of New York and the last Titanic, all three of which were (somewhat) better. Do yourself a favor. Watch them in succession. Stay far and away from this one.
I can't fault the photography & this film really did exceed my expectations due to the high standard the actors brought to each scene.
I'm sure that this movie is definitely underrated. I almost overlooked it due to a couple of bad reviews, especially the ones that slated tom's bad accent. Personally, I thought it was quite charming.
It wasn't just Nicole and tom who did a good job on this either, the entire cast was superb.
I give it a 10/10 for what it achieved. It was just the right length and the movie was rounded off with a good ending.
the performances are phenomenal and so is the production . you won't forget the beautiful views during their journey .
after 16 years ,the movie is still amazing .it is better than the majority of movies we see nowadays .I really advise you to see it.
Unfortunately that's all it does have. The script is largely uninspired, quite slow in the middle, and finishes with a predictable 'happy ending'. None of the cast really help proceedings, nor does John Williams' score, which surprisingly disappoints.
Director Howard mostly fails to generate real audience interest in his lead players, and humour is sadly lacking. "Far and Away" is romantic, but it seriously lacks depth.
Friday, June 5, 1992 - Knox District Centre
Seeing "Far and Away" a second time is not highly recommended. The story is boring, the comedy just is not effective and the film is far too long. Those prize-fights are a terrible rip-off of "Rocky".
A very painful second viewing. Just try and stay awake.
Friday, June 19, 1992 - Knox District Centre