Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Ballad of Little Jo|
Actors: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian McKellen, David Chung, Heather Graham
Director: Maggie Greenwald
Genres: Westerns, Drama
Starring Suzy Amis. Disgraced, a 19th century society girl journey's west disguised as a man. Inspired by a true story. Year: 124 Director: Maggie Greenwald Starring: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian Mckellen
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Member Movie Reviews
Peter Q. (Petequig)
Reviewed on 11/11/2009...
Good story about the struggle for Women in the early West.
A huge surprise.
dsrussell | Corona, CA. United States | 07/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For a movie that I wasn't prepared to like, this little, unknown `ballad' turned into a treasure-trove of surprises. Well acted throughout, "The Ballad of Little Jo" hits the mark at almost every turn. The director and writer, Maggie Greenwald, brought a sense of stark realism to the period, much like Robert Altman brought to his classic "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". This was especially true in the mining camp scenes. This is a story of a young woman trying to make it on her own as she travels west after an affair has brought her shame and banishment. The twist, of course, is that the only way she can survive and scratch an existence is by hiding herself as a man (actually, a boy). The classic beauty of Suzy Amis requires one to stretch his or her imagination quite a bit in order for this movie to work. For instance, did I, for even one second, think she looked like a man? Not on your life, buster! How about as a young lad? Well, not really. So did it work? A very surprising YES! And the credit has to go to Ms. Amis--she was wonderful in this film--as well as the director.The movie travels at a somewhat pedestrian pace, however, it is never dull and carries a wealth of scenes that brings out a pure and simple honesty, which is rare in filmmaking. After viewing this film, I wished that they had spent a little more time showing Josephine the woman, but because of time constraints (the film was fairly long as is), most of her past was shown only in quick flashbacks. Between 1 and 10, "The Ballad of Little Jo" deserves a solid 8. This is one film I know I'll enjoy over and over again. People, do yourself a favor and rent or buy this film. I think you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I."
Maggie Greenwald's The Ballad of Little Jo
Charles Tatum | 05/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before watching this, do not make the mistake of lumping this film in with silly cross dressing comedies like "Tootsie" and "Mrs. Doubtfire." While based on a true story, director Greenwald sidesteps many western (and Hollywood) conventions to bring one of the best westerns of the 1990's.Suzy Amis plays Jo, a woman who is a little too trusting of some bad men. After escaping to the west and leaving her born out of wedlock son behind, she is almost raped by two soldiers. To hide from them, she wears men's clothing and scars her face, eventually using her new facade to get what she needs in the west to survive. Ian McKellen plays a woman hater who takes her in, believing she is a young man. She eventually befriends Bo Hopkins, who has his best role in years, and starts a sheep ranch. She falls in love with a Chinese man she was forced to hire as her cook, and must eventually do battle with a cattle comglomerate trying to get a foothold and driving the sheep ranchers out.Amis resembles Eric Stoltz in her scenes as a man, and is totally believable. McKellan and Rene Auberjonois have small but pivotal roles as older father figures who Amis trusts, but eventually turn on her. Bo Hopkins is great as the neighbor Amis tolerates, befriends, and tolerates. David Chung plays the Chinese man nicknamed Tin Man as an ailing opium addicted flawed man. He looks perfect for the part, life scars and all. Heather Graham also has a small part as Amis' paramour, and does her best with it.The most surprising aspects of this film is what the film is not. There are no cute "Yentl" scenes, where Amis falls in love with a man as a man. The cattle company war, a standard western plot point, never overwhelms the story, or comes to a trite conclusion. The final scenes, with Jo's unmasking, seem almost like farce, but when thought about later, play very truthfully and touchingly, especially Hopkins' reaction.Greenwald's camera turns a small film into an epic, with gorgeous Montana scenery. Her script is also very smart, never going for cheap laughs or the kind of exploitation that a male director may have gone for. I strongly recommend "The Ballad of Little Jo."This is rated (R) for physical violence, strong gun violence, some sexual violence, gore, some profanity, some female nudity, sexual content, sexual references, drug abuse, and adult situations."
A true portrait
Charles Tatum | 07/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ths is a beautiful and sensitive film, with moments of heart-wrenching realism and of great tenderness. Not only is it an honest portrayal of a woman alone in the West, but also it is one of the few American films I have seen to address with dignity and truthfulness the predicament of nineteenth century Chinese immigrants, and to star a fine Chinese-American actor, David Chung. The scenes between Jo and her lover, played by Chung, are very moving, and extremely sexy, and for me were highlights of this excellent movie."