6.5/10
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27 user 35 critic

Fierce People (2005)

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2:18 | Trailer
A massage therapist looking to overcome her addictions and reconnect with her son, whose father is an anthropologist in South America studying the Yanomani people, moves in with a wealthy ex-client in New Jersey.

Director:

Griffin Dunne

Writers:

Dirk Wittenborn (book), Dirk Wittenborn (screenplay)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Diane Lane ... Liz Earl
Anton Yelchin ... Finn Earl
Donald Sutherland ... Ogden C. Osborne
Chris Evans ... Bryce
Kristen Stewart ... Maya
Paz de la Huerta ... Jilly
Blu Mankuma ... Gates
Elizabeth Perkins ... Mrs. Langley
Christopher Shyer ... Dr. Leffler
Garry Chalk ... McCallum
Ryan McDonald ... Ian
Dexter Bell ... Marcus Gates
Kaleigh Dey ... Paige
Aaron Brooks ... Giacomo
Jeff Westmoreland Jeff Westmoreland ... Whitney
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Storyline

Trapped in his mother's Lower East Side apartment, sixteen-year-old Finn wants nothing more than to escape New York and spend the summer in South America studying the Iskanani Indians, or "Fierce People," with the anthropologist father he's never met. But Finn's dreams are shattered when he is arrested in a desperate effort to help his drug-dependent mother, Liz, who scrapes by working as a masseuse. Determined to get their lives back on track, Liz moves the two of them into a guest house on the vast country estate of her ex-client, the aging aristocratic billionaire, Ogden C. Osbourne. In Osbourne's close world of privilege and power, Finn and Liz encounter a tribe fiercer and more mysterious than anything they might find in the South American jungle: the super rich. While Liz battles her substance abuse and struggles to win back her son's love and trust, Finn falls in love with Osbourne's beautiful granddaughter, Maya, befriends her charismatic older brother, Bryce, and even wins ... Written by Zoey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every family tree has its nuts. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug use, sexuality/nudity and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English | Tagalog

Release Date:

30 November 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Des Gens Impitoyables See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,968, 9 September 2007

Gross USA:

$85,410

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$269,755
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eddie Rosales who played the shaman in the movie's dream sequence was actually speaking in Filipino. See more »

Goofs

The Dead Kennedys song "Kill the Poor" plays at Maya's birthday party during the summer of 1980. The song was not released until October of that year. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Finn Earl: [narrating] There's this tribe in South America called the Ishcanani. That means fierce people.
Finn Earl: They're. They're like the meanest people in the world. They'll cut off your thumbs, and they'll shit in your hammock just like we say hello.
See more »


Soundtracks

A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody
Written by Irving Berlin
Vocals by Donald Sutherland
Arranged and Performed by Patric Caird
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Top-notch performances keep this spotty effort afloat
7 December 2009 | by dallesmacSee all my reviews

"Fierce People" is a quirky coming-of-age tale told through the dark lens of a learning that the lives of the very rich are really blackest comedy. Uneven direction and a spotty screenplay (based by the author on his novel) almost do this movie in. What saves it is a gallery of first-rate performances by a fine cast. The acting is uniformly excellent, which keeps the viewer from focusing on what is basically very familiar territory.

You have to hand it to Diane Lane. Her role as the alcoholic (apparently recovering) mom is poorly written and inconsistently conceived by the director. But she gives it all she's got (which is plenty) and her later scenes with her son (also well portrayed by Anton Yelchin) achieve a depth and emotional impact that is a great credit to both actors. That depth sure isn't in the script.

Donald Sutherland is in great form as the seventh richest man in American who brings New York City masseuse Lane and her teenage son to the wilds of richest New Jersey. As his granddaughter, Kristen Stewart shows why she has zoomed to stardom in the "Twilight" films and to critical acclaim in movies like "Adventureland." Not only does the camera love her, she pays it back in full with a performance here that is remarkable for its subtle depths. (Watch her face when she gets in the black Mercedes in the movie's final scene.) As the grandson, Chris Evans is vivid and effective. (The camera loves him too.) The rest of the cast is great too. But highest praise goes to Elizabeth Perkins as Sutherland's alcoholic daughter (and mother of those aforementioned children). It's a small role, but she really comes across as she comically portrays a lifetime of privilege and desperation.

Despite the fine performances, many scenes fall flat and slide into confusion. Some of this may be due to the poor audio recording (at least on the DVD). Some of this may also be due to the inconsistent emotional focus of the script (which really needed another couple of rewrites, probably NOT by the author of the original novel).

Nice location work, though, wherever that estate was that most of the movie was shot!


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