7.3/10
3,305
61 user 42 critic

Sweet Land (2005)

In 1920, Inge, a German national, travels from Norway to rural Minnesota for her arranged marriage to Olaf, a Norwegian farmer; bureaucracy and prejudice cause major complications.

Director:

Ali Selim

Writers:

Will Weaver (short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat"), Ali Selim

On Disc

at Amazon

9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Reaser ... Young Inge
Lois Smith ... Old Inge
Patrick Heusinger ... Young Lars
Stephen Pelinski Stephen Pelinski ... Old Lars
Tim Guinee ... Young Olaf
Robert Hogan ... Old Olaf
Alan Cumming ... Young Frandsen
Paul Sand ... Old Frandsen
Jodie Markell ... Donna Torvik
Sage Kermes ... Mae Torvik
Kirsten Frantzich Kirsten Frantzich ... Lee
Stephen Yoakam Stephen Yoakam ... Einar Torvik
Karen Landry ... Rose Torvik
James Cada James Cada ... Minister Thorwald
Debbie DeLisi Debbie DeLisi ... Sarah Torvik
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Storyline

As Inge buries her husband Olaf on their Minnesota farm in 1968, we relive her life story as she tells her grown grandson about how she arrived from Germany in 1920 as Olaf's postal bride and of the obstacles they overcame in order to marry... Written by Lillian LaSalle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every journey ends at home. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief partial nudity and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Norwegian

Release Date:

31 July 2008 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Wedding Photo See more »

Filming Locations:

Dawson, Minnesota, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,860, 15 October 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,706,325, 8 July 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Dan Futterman was originally cast as Olaf, but by the time the movie was ready to shoot, Futterman was committed to Capote (2005) so he recommended Tim Guinee for the role. See more »

Goofs

They harvest an entire field of corn between the two of them, when they get back to the barn, the crop is suddenly wheat. They go through the whole "separating the wheat from the chaff" process, and pour the seed into sacks. See more »

Quotes

Inge: Dreams? Yes, you have?
Young Olaf: I have work, I don't have dreams.
Inge: [pushes him in a rage] Crows have dreams!
Young Olaf: [correcting her] "Ducks".
Inge: ...pheasants, all have dreams. But not you!
Young Olaf: Ducks don't have dreams. They get cold, they fly south.
See more »

Soundtracks

Quiet Breathing
Music and Lyrics by Mark Orton, Thomas Lieberman (as T.F. Lieberman) and Haley Bonar
Published by Camp Watertown Music/Liza Rose Music
Quiet Breathing, LP (ASCAP)
Performed by Haley Bonar
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wonderfully nostalgic, funny, sad, ironic tale of immigrant farmers in Minnesota
27 December 2006 | by roland-104See all my reviews

Delightful, richly imagined story of a young immigrant woman who comes from Norway to Minnesota in 1919 as a "mail order bride" to marry a Norwegian farmer. By turns slapstick funny, tender, ironic and sad, this movie successfully evokes the difficult life of foreign homesteaders in a new land, in a story told simply, with no pretensions and with a wondrous range of nuances.

We confront outrageous instances of religious, ethnic and political bigotry, and the cruel predations of wealthy money lenders who don't blink an eye when pressing foreclosures, ruining families who have sat elbow to elbow with them at church every Sunday for years. But we also see examples of kindheartedness, longing for love and gradually dawning romance, individual integrity and group justice, not to mention hilarious moments, both intentional and unintended.

Inge (Elizabeth Reaser, a luminous beauty) is the stalwart German woman who comes to marry the reticent Olaf (Tim Guinee), who had thought she was Norwegian like him, since she came from a town in Norway. Olaf is a character straight out of a Garrison Keillor monologue: he's the quintessential shy Norwegian bachelor farmer.

Inge, on the other hand, is deferential only because she can't speak English or Norwegian, only German, and that only with the church pastor, Rev. Sorrensen (John Heard), who refuses to conduct the wedding because Inge has no citizenship papers and, ironically, he is suspicious of her German roots, in a time when anti-German sentiment was still at a peak following WW I. Once Inge's got a handle on language, she starts to show her pluck, for, beneath her stunning physical beauty, Inge is in fact a forceful woman.

Comic relief is afforded in a marvelous turn by Alan Cumming as Frandsen, another - and altogether inadequate – farmer. Rather than actually work at farming, Frandsen would much rather entertain his wife and nine kids, and his friends, with funny gestures and tunemaking. Cumming's performance reminds me of Ray Bolger as the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz, or Håkan Hagegård, as Papageno in Bergman's "The Magic Flute," or some of the masters of physical comedy in the silent film era. Rounding out a superb cast are Ned Beatty as Harmo, a ruthless banker, and Alex Kinston as Frandsen's wife, Brownie.

Director Ali Selim, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, had a highly successful career making commercials for television before undertaking this picture, his debut feature narrative film. He worked from a short story by Bemidji writer Will Weaver, called "Gravestone Made of Wheat." The movie was shot on location in a rural area of southwest Minnesota. This film will leave you laughing and crying. It is a treasure. (In English, German and Norwegian) My grades: 8.5/10 (A-) (Seen on 12/26/06)


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