7.3/10
3,267
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:

Writers:

(short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat"),

On Disc

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9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Young Inge
... Old Inge
... Young Lars
Stephen Pelinski ... Old Lars
... Young Olaf
... Old Olaf
... Young Frandsen
... Old Frandsen
... Donna Torvik
... Mae Torvik
Kirsten Frantzich ... Lee
Stephen Yoakam ... Einar Torvik
... Rose Torvik
James Cada ... Minister Thorwald
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:

A love story See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

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Language:

| |

Release Date:

31 July 2008 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Wedding Photo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Florida Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

In several prominent scenes both on farmsteads and in the church, there is a farmer with a "Carhartt logo" on his work jacket. Although the Carhartt company made work clothes since 1889, in the 1920's they were mostly worn by railroad workers, not farmers. In addition, the "C" type logo was not used until much later. See more »

Quotes

Postal Clerk: No foreign language letters leave the country.
Young Olaf: Why?
Postal Clerk: We're at war, with Germany.
Young Olaf: So they keep telling me. I tought ve von.
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Soundtracks

Eskimo Kisses
Music and Lyrics by Thomas Lieberman (as T.F. Lieberman)
Published by Liza Rose Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Thomas Lieberman (as Tom Lieberman)
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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 See 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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