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Beautiful Ohio
Beautiful Ohio
Actors: William Hurt, Michelle Trachtenburg
Genres: Drama
UR     2008     1hr 30min

In his feature directorial debut Chad Lowe weaves a compelling family drama about William (Brett Davern), a young teenager lost in the success of his older brother Clive (David Call), a troubled high school math prodigy wh...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: William Hurt, Michelle Trachtenburg
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Ifc
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/25/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Family Finding Itself
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Ethan Canin is one of our more important authors (`America, America', `Emperor of the Air', `The Palace Thief' which became the film `The Emperor's Club') and to discover a screenplay/story by him is a treat. BEAUTIFUL OHIO is a fascinating little film directed by Chad Lowe about an apparently close knit family that knows really very little about each other: it is Canin's purpose to unravel the stories of 'ordinary people confronting aspects of themselves they'd rather not see.' Behind each member's delusions and hopes to ultimately reach the mid-ground of recognition of just how special is each member is where this very tender story travels.

Simon Messerman (William Hurt) is an insurance salesman who happens to read voraciously and speaks in quotations of famous writers and thinkers. His wife Judith (Rita Wilson) is equally bright, quotes as often as William, but adds a flavor of correcting people's grammar and living in a world of her beloved composers (Chopin, Schumann, Mozart, etc). They have two sons - Clive (David Call) is a long-haired math genius who despite his gifts spends his time playing loud hard rock music and speaking in a language all his own, and William (Brett Davern) who is devoted to his more intelligent brother but longs for a sense of normalcy in a family that tends to fragment at odd times. Clive's best friend and the only person who understands his special language is Elliot (Hale Appleman): the two of them essentially keep to themselves and smoke pot while they are not entertaining the 'homeless' Sandra (Michelle Trachtenberg). Sandra chooses to live in the basement of the Messerman house to avoid coping with her own abusive parents. The four youngsters are a team of sorts, thought the interrelationship roles each plays is not at first apparent.

The Messermans brag about Clive's constant triumphs at math contests, entertain their neighbors the Cubanos (Matt Servitto and Julianna Marguiles), and fill their lives with attending math meets, basically ignoring the personalities of their two boys. William longs for acceptance and understanding by his parents: Clive lives in his own world. William is driven to discover the meaning of Clive's strange language and eventually finds clues that lead to the secrets he'd rather not know. A situation occurs that stuns the family, and the story jumps forward to the resolving aftermath of that discovery.

For a bare bones budget film the story is well told and is a compelling one. Ethan Canin reads better on the page than his words convey through the mouths of actors, and at times the result is pretentious dialogue. But the cast is superb and the ending is one that makes the audience stop, think, and want to see the movie again for the clues we missed. Well worth seeing. Grady Harp, November 08"
Anticipate nothing, and you won't be let down
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 11/29/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This film languished for a couple years in the Weinstein vacuum of obscure DVD release patterns, but it finally trickled onto the slate this winter.

The story revolves around two teen brothers (one genius/obscure type and one trying to be normal) and their stereotypical 1970s working-class parents all living in Cleveland. Throw in some boring neighbors, one mysterious girlfriend and lots of soul searching dialogue and voila - a really uneventful film.

I keep reading accolades about how amazing this film is since it came out in 2006. The opening flashback sequence and the last two minutes of the film would make for an attractive story in themselves, but then there is this mud in between. William Hurt is always fun to watch, Julianna Margulies is given front billing but she has TWO lines in the whole film and 5 scenes. SPOILERS - The ending was rushed and seemed like an afterthought in relation to the film; they introduce 6 new actors in the last 2 minutes and expect the viewer to assume what has happened in the prior 20 years.

Some interesting performances but the story never really holds together and that ending smashes together everything too quickly and leaves you with disappointment. No extras on the DVD and a little harder to find with that IFC exclusive agreement."
Great Story and Fine Acting
S. Li | Texas, USA | 12/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I grew up, my elder brother was a genius in school, not just Math, but virtually every subject. My parents were consumed with his excellence. Like the yonger son William in the movie, I logned for my parents' and brother's acceptance. It is hard growing up in the shadow of a genius.

This movie might not be for everyone, but definitely a well done one."
Amateur Direction!
Harkanwar Anand | New York, New York | 03/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"While this film had a decent plot, there is a reason it has been so-unnoticed. The direction doesn't make you curious, the script doesn't flow, the characters are annoying and the film seems to be going on on it's own without creating any questions or being relevant to the viewer. There is a character who's a math genius yet his character was very incongruous and it seems like the director is having a tough time portraying him. Another young girl who loves to break hearts was also a little twisted. This is a bit like that Christina Ricci picture where she tries to induce someone younger than her to have sex with her, only that somehow that film was more relevant.

Can't help but be cynical as ever. Do yourself a favour, close this window and do not watch this film. Want to watch a similar much better film? The Squid and the whale. But I'm sure most fans have of this fickle genre have seen that film. Cheerio."