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Plot: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her. Runtime: 122 min Release Date: 18 May 2014
Given that three women in the Nebraska Territory all went raving mad at the same time maybe it was the Danish rye bread , this tale grabs us immediately with its starkness, bitterness and coldness, not to mention lack of compassion. Tommy Lee Jones as a drunken old reject is right on the mark. Hillary Swank is no longer a sexy young gal, rather a bitter lonely hard-working single woman trying to eke out a living in the unforgiving wilderness. Every scene, every moment is captivating. You may not even like what you're seeing, but you can't stop watching. Somehow, even though I thought <more>
three mad women at one time seemed contrived, I had to accept that it was just that way. Shortly after getting organized, the film turns into a road picture, but what a road, or lack thereof. Jones, Swank and the three locas have to traverse empty countryside, facing drought, Indians, hunger, privation of every kind, for at least five weeks to get to a place where a kindly preacher's wife Meryl Streep, as usually so immersed in this small part that you just know she's really a long-suffering preacher's wife has promised to care for them. Developer James Spader too has only a few brief moments to do his thing, but it's unforgettable. When my granddaughter was small, we used to watch films together. Sometimes when we watched a film she really really liked, think Zoot Suit , she'd burst out crying at the end. I'd ask, "Why are you crying, Baby Girl?" and she'd say, "Because I didn't want it to be over." I felt this way about The Homesman. I didn't want it to be over. I had lots more questions and things I'd like to see resolved. What happened to the hotel and town development? What happened to the man William Fichtner, always a pleasure and his two little girls? What happened to the crazy women and whatever happened to Briggs Jones ? A sad cold story, but one you just can't walk away from.
This is as close as you can to history without being there. (by noskcirenoj)
My mother was born in a sod house on the prairie of North Dakota and my grandmother was the town mid-wife and abortionist. Homesteading was hard and demanding and Tommy Lee Jones has captured the the gut-level struggle that came with 160 acres and the nearest neighbor five or ten miles away. It drove those without an iron will to insanity. If you are looking for a shoot-um-up western, this is NOT it, but if you love the history of the frontier, and want to get a feel for its tragedy and day to day fight for survival, this is a great movie. Beautifully filmed, expertly acted, wonderfully <more>
scripted, I could not have asked for more. I have never liked Hillary Swank, but this was an incredible performance. Tommy Lee Jones was his beautifully curmudgeoned self. I especially liked the accurate use of period firearms and I will not quibble over the availability of 1851 36 caliber paper cartridges in end of the earth Nebraska Territory nor Ms Swank having a wardrobe of new dresses through out the film. The film accurately captured the ethos of the western prairie and gave me a look and a feel into my own grandparents. Thank you Tommy Lee Jones for a classic.
Think of life today and how far women have come. This is a wonderful mindful production. HIlary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones give Oscar worthy performances. We were lucky to hear the producer after the film. We saw it at the Santa Fe Film festival. Amazing costumes, make up, creative in every sense of the word. Powerful! It takes courage to make a movie with this story line. The musical score complimented the production. Disney wanted the story to change so they never made this movie. Lucky we have people who took the courage to produce this move. Wow! I am sure the movie will be nominated as <more>
best movie of the year and acclaim is well deserved.
The story behind this movie is so engaging that it is a perfect platform for good performances and none of the players disappoints. Hilary Swank has never been better: tough but kind-hearted, determined but vulnerable. Tommy Lee Jones is at his salty, rough-edged, believable best. Since Mr. Jones also directed the film it is not just his rugged pioneer character that creates the authenticity of this portrait the Plains sod-busters in pre-statehood Nebraska. From the opening scene your senses are immersed in the grit, hunger, muscle-ache and the incessant wind of this stark place that always <more>
seems to be on the edge of disaster. The casting was impeccable, down to the smallest role and especially for the non-speaking parts that will make more sense once you've seen the film. I don't think the movie is without flaws. There is one scene that I felt was unnecessary and presented the male lead Jones out of character. If not for that I would have rated this beautiful, riveting movie a 10.
It's a hard film to watch, at times, but definitely worth it. (by Hellmant)
'THE HOMESMAN': Four and a Half Stars Out of Five Tommy Lee Jones directed, co-wrote and stars in this western/drama film set in the 1850s midwest about a 'spinster' and a 'drifter' transporting three women, driven mad by the hardships of the time, across the country. It costars Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer and Sonja Richter. It also features cameos by Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, William Fichtner and Hailee Steinfeld. The film was written by Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley Oliver and it's based on the 1988 novel, <more>
of the same name, by Glendon Swarthout. French filmmaker Luc Besson served as a producer of the movie and it also features a breathtaking music score by Marco Beltrami. It's surprisingly dark, and extremely disturbing, but I enjoyed it due to it's strong character development, outstanding performances and odd beauty.Swank plays Mary Bee Cuddy, a strong and independent 31-year-old woman from New York. She desperately wants to find a husband but can't, due to men finding her too plain looking I don't think Swank looks bad at all in this movie, considering the film's time and setting . When the local reverend Lithgow asks for someone to transport three women across the country, to a church in Hebron Iowa, Cuddy volunteers. The women Otto, Gummer and Richter are all mentally ill and the church will provide the special help they need. Cuddy comes across a drifter named George Briggs Jones , who's about to be lynched for 'claim jumping', and asks him for his help in return for saving his life . The two make the long journey together and form an odd bond.The movie has been called a 'feminist western', by many, and I'd definitely agree it's a strong female character study, about the hardships women faced at the time. Swank is outstanding in the co- lead and Jones is just as classic and tough as ever; he does unintentionally I think steal some of the female cast's thunder. Jones also proves he's an equally talented director once again and the movie is full of beautiful visuals, as well as haunting imagery. For me the highlight of the film is the beautiful music and the touching relationships formed by the movie's central characters it also has a shocking and unexpected twist, at the end of the second act . It's a hard film to watch, at times, but definitely worth it; if you're a fan of the genre or even if you're not.Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://youtu.be/1_bZp5ejQ4I
So Tommy Lee Jones CAN direct... (by devilshouse2000)
I was suspicious of this movie. It didn't sound very exciting and Hillary Swank usually plays characters I do not very much enjoy. Yet she acts so well, at times it can be very difficult to not like her. Also haven't seen a lot of good movies by or with Tommy Lee Jones these past few years. Only reason I saw the movie was because I felt like watching a new Western Movie. You don't get the Clint Eastwood standoff coolness but you get to see all the bad, ugly and horrible of the frontier life, which makes a great setting for a beautiful story centered around a god fearing woman <more>
doing what she believes to be right no matter the resistance she encounters and how that kind of lifestyle doesn't go well with most of the frontier's inhabitants. It's a western roadmovie centering a lot less on the insane women than one might think. And it's good, very good. Yet ugly. I gotto agree with one other reviewer, stating that The Homesman has quite a few surprises he did not anticipate. True, very true. I didn't catch any cliché except for maybe one scene, where Tommy Lee Jones shows you shouldn't turn down a hungry frontiersman and his crazy women ; The Homesman is no Action Movie. It's a sad story set in a pretty sad time period. If you're lucky enough, like myself, you'll find it touching at the end and feel like it wasn't just some piece of entertainment that passed the time.
Remarkable work of auteur cinema -- realism at its best (by jdeureka)
Tommy Lee Jones has a wry, dry character -- rich and deep as unwatered open plains of the Americas. He's transferred his particular personality power to the story of The Homesman. He's successfully created a fine work of "auteur cinema" much as I personally think this form rarely exists .The Homesman is an emotionally and powerful, idea-rich, almost humorless story -- with an immense amount of humor. It has very tight, economic tale telling with no fat on the bone; in which much is implied, historical accuracy hits its target by nuance, and the story itself is deeply <more>
respectful of an intelligent audience.The Homesman is not "entertainment" in the haha, shoot-'em-up Western sense. It's realism committed to a moral cause -- criticism of the disenfranchised, the homeless, the people who cannot make it no matter how hard they try. It has a brilliant sense of time and place that tells the life stories of dozens of hard-enduring, long-suffering "forgotten men" -- the women no less than the men.The key heartbreaker is Hilary Swank's character of Miss Mary Bee Cuddy. She's born into a Western frontier world where she and everyone else believes and practices that "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Hard workers and decent people. But tragically that is not enough. Why? The Homesman leaves that question deliciously unanswered. Life is not fair. God is not just.Beautifully The Homesman does -- kind of -- answer life's problems with the value of sheer vitality and gutsiness itself. Thus that key visual motif in the movie that comes from: George Caleb Bingham, "The Jolly Flatboatmen". We must dance the dance of life, however mad.
Tommy Lee Jones stars, writes, directs, produces & astounds in this journey through trust & the Wild West. Splendid! (by TheSquiss)
I need to get something off my chest: I'm not a fan of Tommy Lee Jones. I find him limited in range, much the same in most roles and, worst of all, he inexplicably won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Fugitive, thus depriving Pete Postlethwaite for In the Name of the Father, Leonardo Di Caprio for What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Ralph Fiennes for his performance of pure evil as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. In modern parlance, WTF? But periodically, just occasionally, once in a while, he inhabits the screen in a manner that forces one to reconsider one's judgment. And <more>
so it is with The Homesman.The Homesman is something of a surprise, and not just because Tommy Lee Jones is on remarkable form in it. Beyond a fine performance, the man writes, directs and co-produces it. Hell's bells, when did he become so damn good at everything? In the bad old days of the pioneers in the Wild West, Mary Bee Cuddy Hilary Swank steps in when three women drift into various states of madness and need to be transported across the country to be cared for properly. Shunned by their husbands, denied help from the town's menfolk and at a time where rape and murder hides behind every outcrop of rock and every gnarled cactus, Cuddy sets off alone on her hazardous journey. She stumbles across George Briggs Tommy Lee Jones , a drifter seated atop his horse, with a noose around his neck, waiting for his steed to grow bored and leave him hanging. Literally. Cuddy offers to save him on the condition that he accompanies her and so begins a particular kind of journey.The Homesman is probably described by many as a western, but that's lazy. This is a road movie on horseback, a saunter across the plains, a journey through mistrust and emotions where a mistake or misplaced trust will result in death. It is a story of hope and love, not the romantic kind, but real love for one's fellow human being, regardless of whether they can, or will, reciprocate.Shot beautifully with sprawling, dusty vistas that warm the heart and prickle the nape, the backdrop is a vast canvas of character and mystery upon which splashes of colour are smeared in the shape of wandering, human dangers.Though they say little, the trio of women Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter are far more than peripheral characters or the MacGuffin; they are the substance that binds The Homesman and the reason for the drama, gentle though it is. As we saw in Mr. Turner, such characters can so easily become pantomime animals with over performance that slaps the viewer in the face and detracts from the whole, of which they are but a small part. Not so here. Grace Gummer, particularly, as the mostly mute but vacantly animated Arabella is terrific and we want to reach into the screen and gently push her back towards sanity. It is a beautiful, understated performance that remains in mind long after the event.Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank make a surprising double act but the chemistry is there in abundance. Both Cuddy and Briggs carry their own needs and daemons with them; neither would give the other a second glance ordinarily but circumstance prompts odd, emotional couplings and theirs is fraught with suspicion and obligation. It is fantastic to see Swank back to the form that brought her gongs and made us sit up and watch in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby. This is a far less demonstrative performance, but no less steely or impactful because of it.Tommy Lee Jones's performance is the most compelling, engrossing that I can recall. Beyond that, his direction is worth celebrating loudly. The Homesman is only his second feature as director after 2006's wonderful but little seen The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada but there are hints that he may step into Clint Eastwood's shoes alongside Ben Affleck and Sean Penn. Just when we think we have the measure of this tale, he belts us sharply around the jowls, proving he has the mettle to surprise and shock us out of our complacency.Maybe, after years and years of apparently coasting, broodily on film and staring into space, it will transpire he was merely absorbing, waiting for the moment to own both sides of the screen and captivate us.You know what, maybe he's always been this good but I just didn't see it.For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
to be perfectly honest, i'm surprised it rated this high...though it deserves a much higher rating... (by imizrahi2002)
it's not altogether fun. i think most who have seen it would agree...but i think it's a masterful piece of storytelling. and kudos to tommy lee jones for not giving in an inch to clichés...there was so much that surprised me in this film...the reactions that i always try to guess before they happen...the lines that come out of the actors mouths... sure i guessed SOME of the times in this film...but i'm not usually as surprised by dialogue/character choices as i was here... it made it all so much more realistic for me, rather than watching characters who are mouthing lines of <more>
people who've seen too many bad movies and not met or done enough interesting people or things, respectively... there was one major turn in the plot towards the end that was unexpected. but in a way that i felt was also, given what we'd seen of this character already, not really in line with who they seemed to be... i know it was based on a book. and all that's in a book can rarely be shown in a two hour film...so i'm thinking that whatever changes this character had to go through to get from 'point A to point B' might have been left out. Otherwise it didn't really make much sense/needed to make MORE sense than it did...at least for me...i, of course, don't want to be more specific b/c then it would surely be a spoiler. i don't know what reviewer could ever think that i would want to know an important piece of information before i've seen a film... the film was beautiful to look at...the acting was extremely good. i expect Oscar nominations for swank and jones. maybe also director AND , depending on the field, maybe best picture. let's call it a dark horse... ;- since i know a lot of people who read these might not get around to reading a lot of the comments made by, let's say, the director, i'd like to leave you all with these words from tommy lee jones: on how he learned to direct I've worked with more than 50 directors and I've paid attention since day one. That's pretty much been my education, apart from studying art history and shooting with my own cameras. I've seen 50 different sets of mistakes and 50 different ways of achieving. You just leave the bad part out.i wasn't crazy about another of jones's movies--the three burials-- but this one does what he says above to the frame...if i did just one thing in my life of this quality i'd feel it was a life worth having lived... you DO know what's happenin...DON'T you, mr jones?