4 user 18 critic

Once Upon a River (2019)

2:05 | Trailer
Margo Crane's odyssey on the Stark River introduces her to a world filled with wonders and dangers.


Haroula Rose


Bonnie Jo Campbell (book), Haroula Rose (script by)
10 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenadi DelaCerna Kenadi DelaCerna ... Margo Crane
John Ashton ... Smoke
Tatanka Means ... Bernard Crane
Ajuawak Kapashesit ... Will
Kenn E. Head Kenn E. Head ... Fishbone
Lindsay Pulsipher ... Luanne
Dominic Bogart ... Brian
Evan Linder ... Paul
Sam Straley ... Billy Murray
Coburn Goss ... Cal Murray
Arie Thompson ... Junior Murray
Josephine Decker ... Joanna Murray
H.B. Ward H.B. Ward ... Earl
Claudia Church ... Receptionist
Bradley Grant Smith ... Officer


Margo Crane's odyssey on the Stark River introduces her to a world filled with wonders and dangers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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f rated | based on novel | See All (2) »




Did You Know?


Screwed Up Running
Written by Michael Turner
Performed by Michael Turner
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User Reviews

Beautifully made and insightful
15 October 2020 | by trinaboiceSee all my reviews

IN A NUTSHELL: First-time director Haroula Rose shares a coming-of-age story about a fearless heroine in her drama, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Bonnie Jo Campbell. Haroula Rose has a bright future in the film industry. The film has already won 17 awards in the film festival circuit!

TIPS FOR PARENTS: You see a girl in her underwear and later see her topless A mother walks away from her family. If you have children, assure them you're not going to leave them. You see a dead deer and some other animals that have been shot, along with pelts. A teenager drinks alcohol given to her by a predatory adult and then he "has his way with her." You see blood on a girl's underwear. Profanity and 2 F-bombs. Guns, shooting People die Starved for affection, the heroine is pretty promiscuous You see a visit to an abortion clinic

THEMES: Destiny Infidelity Family Consequences Emotional connection Healing old wounds Dishonesty "You should live how you want." - Margo (Kenadi DelaCerna) The importance of having good parents around Selfishness

THINGS I LIKED: Kenadi DelaCerna gives a wonderful breakthrough performance as a Native American teenager living in rural Michigan in the 1970s. She sets off on the river alone to find her estranged mother and meets interesting characters along the way. The director gives us some little details that really help us understand where the teenager's mindset is. Some beautiful cinematography by Charlotte Hornsby. The film is shot with an insightful lens. The sound of the river was outstanding and ever-present. Kudos to the sound department. Another round of kudos goes to the location management team. What a fun job that must be. Sign me up! The music was not heavy-handed, offering just a touch of background every now and then. I like the title but think "The River Rose" could have been even more appropriate because I love double-meanings.

THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: There isn't much humor, although there are a few humorous characters that the protagonist meets along the way. It's full of sadness. While the story is about Margo, some viewers will just be bored or depressed by the story. Some viewers won't be satisfied with the ending.

FUNNY LINES: * "Open your eye!" - Brian says to his friend with an eye patch (Dominic Bogart)

INTERESTING LINES: "You can go to the river to remember or you can go to the river to forget." - Margo (Kenadi DelaCerna)

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Release Date:

25 September 2020 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a River See more »

Filming Locations:

Antioch, Illinois, USA See more »

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