5.6/10
242
6 user 3 critic

Blue River (1995)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 21 November 1995
The stormy relationship of a young teenage boy with his troubled older brother is told in an extended flashback segment bookended by what happens when the two meet again fifteen years later... See full summary »

Director:

Larry Elikann

Writers:

Ethan Canin (novel), Maria Nation (teleplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry O'Connell ... Lawrence Sellars
Nick Stahl ... Young Edward
Neal McDonough ... Edward Sellars
Jean Marie Barnwell Jean Marie Barnwell ... Darienne
Patrick Renna ... Zoltan
Sam Elliott ... Henry Howland
Susan Dey ... Mrs. Sellers
Rebecca Rogers ... Elizabeth
Lorri Lindberg Lorri Lindberg ... Mrs. Silver
Merritt Wever ... Lottie
Cara Jedell ... Anita Candle
Catherine Shaffner Catherine Shaffner ... Mrs. Morris
David Cutting David Cutting ... Jonathan
Chris Blackwelder Chris Blackwelder ... Kurt
Joanna Canton ... Stacy
Edit

Storyline

The stormy relationship of a young teenage boy with his troubled older brother is told in an extended flashback segment bookended by what happens when the two meet again fifteen years later. Edward is a young teen living in a family the father abandoned years before and where the mother has become a Christian fundamentalist and courts a self-righteous school principal. In this setting, Edward tries to come to grips with his feelings towards the brother he both loves and fears, while struggling to protect his family and others from his brother's wrath. Written by Sean Parlaman <seanpar@efn.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The quietest towns always hide the ugliest secrets.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Río azul See more »

Filming Locations:

Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Stahl Beats O'Connell By a Hair
2 February 2005 | by rava-1See all my reviews

Blue River has many things going for it and a few that detract from its potency. On the plus side, it features a literate script, decent direction and some fine acting. On the down side, it has some horrible hair and prosthetic make up and Jerry O'Connell.

Let's start with the worst -- Jerry O'Connell's performance... or maybe his hair piece...no, the acting wins out by a ... oh, I'm not going to say it.. Having only seen O'Connell in Stand By Me, where his character is rather endearing, his hammy overacting here came as quite a jarring surprise. One can almost hear O'Connell thinking, "I am an Actor!" every time he is on screen. He telegraphs every thought, every move, of his character, Lawrence, turning each into a "special moment." It doesn't help that his character is supposed to be mercurial and edgy, giving him an excuse to over emote. Check him out as he swills a beer and dramatically dashes the plastic cup to the ground. It is difficult not to laugh.

On the up side here is Nick Stahl's performance. Seeing these actors as a foil for each other only serves to highlight Stahl's talent all the more. Where O'Connell's artificiality is irritating, Stahl's naturalness is inspiring. He manages to take a much less meaty character than O'Connell's and imbue him with a depth and emotional reality that leaves a lasting impression. In the intense confrontations between the two brothers, Stahl's acting is the emotional center. As his character begins to see the cracks in his brother's lies, he allows the anger and dismay to naturally shine through.

Overall, the supporting actors here do a fine job. The scenes between Stahl's character and that played by Patrick Renna are great. Renna builds a complex and compelling youth whose own destructive nature mirrors that of Lawrence. Susan Dey looks great here in her fragile kookiness, but one gets the feeling that some of her scenes may have been cut out, leaving her character a bit underdeveloped. This is even more true for Sam Elliott, playing the flawed Henry Howland well, yet ultimately remaining flat. As the younger sister, Jean Marie Barnwell was impressive in her few scenes and left me thinking I will keep my eyes open for her in the future.

Blue River is well worth seeing despite its flaws. One can't help wishing that this project had been financed as a film rather than a TV movie, since it has such a fine script and might have done well. See it for the decent performances and story .... or to giggle at O'Connell's very bad hair day.


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