Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Places in the Heart (1984)

I'm so grateful for this movie and I really mean this. It's such a relief that there are some truly enjoyable and entertaining movies, which can also make you think, and which is full of emotion.
The story is about a southern woman (Sally Field) who after the sudden death of her husband has to deal with financial difficulties. With the help of a black man (Danny Glover) and with the support of her sister (Lindsay Crouse) she is able to run her cotton farm during the depression.
As I said, this movie was an enormous relief for me. I loved its honesty and its emotional story, which in my opinion deserved to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Robert Benton's direction is firm and he's able to create an excellent and very fetching atmosphere. Although he won the Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer five years prior, this movie is way better and less sentimental than Kramer vs. Kramer.
I might be biased because I really love this movies about the American South, the Depression and racism like To Kill a Mockingbrid, Fried Green Tomatoes or The Color Purple. They might be quite similar but who cares? I love all of them.
Sally Field gives a very moving and good performance in the lead as Edna, and even though she's not even close to the brilliance of her magnificent turn in Norma Rae, she richly deserved this Oscar too. This is definitely not one of the best winning performances, but I think 1984 was a damn weak year for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress. So Sally is great and I might also add that she's a terrific actress and I'm really sorry that we don't see her on the silver screen as much as we should.
The members of the supporting cast give memorable and strong performances: John Malkovich received a nomination for playing the blind man living at Edna's house. His nomination might have been deserved, but he did not deserve to win.
Same for Lindsay Crouse, who I think deserved that nomination because it was a damn weak year, but apart from being good, she's nothing special.
There are some good turns by Danny Glover (who's nomination-worthy IMO), Ed Harris and his wife Amy Madigan (as his mistress here).
I want to also add, that I'm quite shocked that Nestor Almendros did not receive a Best Cinematography nomination, because his work was also terrific.
So, again: thank you for making this great movie, mr. Benton! It richly deserved the Best Picture nomination.
My Grade: 9/10
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actress (Sally Field WON); Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich); Best Supporting Actress (Lindsay Crouse); Best Original Screenplay; Best Costume Design
My wins: Best Actress and Screenplay

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