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West of Eden (2017)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 9 March 2017 (New Zealand)
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The affluent farmer's son is everything Billy desires. The farm is everything the head drover wants. A story of forbidden love, revenge and a family torn apart, inspired by true events.


Alastair Riddell


Vanessa Riddell (as Vanessa Cohen-Riddell)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kieran Foster Kieran Foster ... Billy Williams
Luke Thompson Luke Thompson ... Tom Henshaw
Peter Hansen Peter Hansen ... Danny Birch (as Pete Hansen)
Vanessa Riddell ... Eva Henshaw
Peter Ford ... Frank Henshaw
Liam Fennell ... Eddie Henshaw
Brighde Riddell Brighde Riddell ... Tess Henshaw
Sarah James ... Ruth Henshaw
Adam Coleman Adam Coleman ... Nathan Williams
Flynn Steward ... Finn
Abigail Coleman Abigail Coleman ... Aroha Williams
Phil Adams Phil Adams ... Older Billy (as Philip Adams)
Rob Kipa-Williams ... Joe Williams
James Wells ... Rob
Jordan Blaikie Jordan Blaikie ... Pete


Billy is already experiencing the ugly side of people's fear and prejudice. He resolves, for the sake of his family, to leave his home town and go somewhere where he is unknown; where he can re-invent himself. Billy decides to take a job on a large farm far away; the most prestigious in its district. He hopes it will be a fresh start. In a twist of irony and as fate would have it, he immediately encounters the very thing he has tried to leave behind; he meets Tom the farmers son. Tom is beautiful and fearless, with the arrogance of privilege and youth. The tension is further under-pinned by the social repression and isolation of rural New Zealand in 1960. A tinder-box of deceit and malice emerges as Billy discovers that he is not the only one fighting his desires and hiding his demons.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A few want power to control. Two need freedom to love.


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

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New Zealand



Release Date:

9 March 2017 (New Zealand) See more »

Also Known As:

Cowboy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


At the wedding reception, Oscar Wilde is quoted, but a couple of words are missing or are unintelligible. The correct quote is: "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead." See more »


Early in the movie Billy is hitch-hiking. He exits a car on a rural road that has road markings down the center and on the sides. In the next shot the road markings have completely disappeared. The likelihood of any road markings on a rural New Zealand road in the 1960s is very remote. See more »


References Giant (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Secrets and lies from rural 1960 New Zealand
9 March 2017 | by mel_bearSee all my reviews

OK I was going to give this movie four stars but as it was beautifully photographed, with some exceptional art direction and amazing visual detail created by the set decorator and costume designer, I upped my rating to five.

This is a bit of a glimpse into my own early childhood. Not quite the same way as described in the movie but the same scenario took similar forms in New Zealand in the fifties and early sixties.

Although the film is hinted as being a gay love story, it is more a secret and lies drama with the action played out, not in some North England town, but on a farm out in the sticks of rural New Zealand.

OK, this all sounds like everything is great and we are in for two emotional hours of pretty good film making. Things started to fall down during the (unnecessary) prologue with some bad post sync dialogue. This slightly stilled dialogue continued throughout a lot of the movie. The script was great but listening to the dialogue made me feel quite uncomfortable. This wasn't helped by the music score which was recorded so loud as to drown out a lot of what I was trying to hear.

The wonderful period costumes and props were marred by some of the worst movie makeup on a non-vampire movie I have ever seen. Almost every cast member looked like they had escaped from 'Spookers'.

The director decided to film every scene involving the actors from every angle possible. The editing room didn't help by trying to edit in every angle too. This was not an action movie and looking at a person's head from every angle starts to make you physically sick.

Some of the scenes could have been trimmed a tad - especially where the camera seemed to focus a bit too long on minor characters who were really not that important in keeping the story going.

This all sounds rather hash but I think this movie would have benefited from some public screenings, for feedback purposes, before hitting the circuit.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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