Deftly directed and beautifully acted, this movie is a little gem that didn't get nearly enough attention when it first came out. It is both a perfect family film and a poignant, satisfying movie experience for adults. The movie explores the complex relationships among a tightly-knit family of farmers whose prodigal Hollywood son returns home when his powerful old-fashioned father takes ill. The son returns to confront the responsibilities, and the relatives, he left behind. The ensemble of talented character actors create an atmosphere that is totally real, colorful and engaging. The director balances numerous family relationships: an old and bitter feud between father and uncle (excellent performances by both actors); the Old Country values of the grandmother; the competition between the two nephews for their share of the farm; and the shyly blossoming romance between the two leads. The plot offers enough twists and turns to keep you watching and wondering how it will all turn out. Shot on location at a glorious old farm in America's heartland, the film is a statement about the American spirit, the conflicts between old world values and modern ambitions, and ultimately about family bonds that can never be broken. Film buffs take note: the romantic female lead is the same actress (all grown up now) who played the little girl in Hancock's earlier children's feature, "Prancer."
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