Boston University History professor Rolfe Whitehouse tells of the events leading up to the unexplained but not totally surprising disappearance of his older troubled brother, Wade Whitehouse. Wade, Rolfe and their sister Lena grew up in small town Lawford in upstate New Hampshire, where Wade and their parents, Glen and Sally Whitehouse, still lived. Wade was the town's police officer, in addition to having a multitude of side jobs directed his way by businessman and town selectman Gordon LaRiviere, in order to supplement his meager income. Wade was living on the edge emotionally. Long divorced from his since married second ex-wife, Lillian Horner, who moved to the city following the divorce, Wade had only infrequent visitation rights to his and Lillian's adolescent daughter, Jill Whitehouse, who seemed to love her father only because he was her father, but who seemed to see their visits solely as obligations rather than wants. Because of the animosity in his and Lillian's break-up, ...Written by
Filmed in Quebec, in January and February 1997, the movie, which happens in a New Hampshire town, opens on Halloween day, late October. There is never that much snow on the ground, if at all, late October, in New Hampshire (or Quebec for that matter). See more »
Christ Sally! You are such a good person. Capital G! By God you are... you are so much better than I am. I am no goddamn good at all. And you... you are truly a good person. Like a fucking saint!
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Open the Door to Your Heart
Written by Ned Miller
Performed by Bonnie Guitar
Used by permission of Dandelion Music Co.
Courtesy of Bear Family Records
[Plays in the bar while Wade talks to his friend and hears the people at the nearby table gossiping about him.] See more »
A walk in the park, a fine romance, a Indy Jones and the Last Crusade. Come on, a combination of Russell Banks and Paul Shrader, the author who explores a school bus accident and the writer/director from Taxi Driver, or The Comfort of Strangers. Did you really expect a happy ending? The film is a dark side vision of Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool, which Paul Newman and Robert Benton turned into a tale of redemption on screen in that same part of the world. No redemption here. As Wade's brother's final voice-over lets you know that Wade is still out there, reliving his father's life, you are relieved to be permitted to leave this claustrophobic world.
Painful scene after painful scene are piled on each other, none more so than the painful rejection of Wade by his little girl. Children go through periods where their parents are embarrassments to them, but in this case, it is more of a fear than a shame of Wade that makes her want to be in her mother's arms.
This is a great film of uncompromising realism. It is a modern Jude The Obscure, but at least you were allowed to see Jude when he had hope and some happiness, and at the end he simply wore himself out. At the end of Affliction, all that you know is that Wade is out there in the world, his angers banked.
The film works because of Nolte's performance. Coburn has an easier job, but he carries it off. The sub-plots mean little, but show us Wade/Nolte in a field of action, and demonstrate that it is not only his personal life that is a mess.
Odd that Banks' The Sweet Hereafter locale was moved from upstate New York to British Columbia, and this film of bare rock, flinty New Hampshire was made in Canada also.
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