Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth, Roberts Blossom, Eva Le Gallienne
Director: Daniel Petrie
Member Movie Reviews
Belinda S. (niara) from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 3/9/2014...
This film has haunted me for years.
I have grown, over time, to have such admiration and respect for the wonderful actor, Ellen Burstyn. When you look back over he career -- from the Oscar winning performance in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore to her fairly recent nomination in the truly brilliant "Requiem for a Dream -- I have to remember the ground she broke as an actor. She could have received a Producer credit for "Alice" but chose not to. I have loved her in everything, but I digress.
I am fairly certain I did not see this one in the theatre. I am pretty sure I saw it on VHS, tucked away in the back of a video store. Or maybe late night on cable TV in the 80s. Never matter. Here she plays Edna, a woman living a carefree life when suddenly, in a horrific car accident, she loses her husband and has an afterlife experience. She realizes soon after that she has the ability to heal others through touch, and now must return home to live with her family as she can no longer care for herself.
Scenes of this film flash through my head as I write this review: the grief of loss when she learns that her husband has died, stopping along a desert gas station as she bitterly returns home to an indifferent, emotionally distant father, a kind gas station attendant, who sees her leg braces and reminds her to make "lemonade from the lemons" and the tears in her eyes, the way she holds a child in her lap who suffers from a nosebleed, the look on her face when she bends a fireplace poke. This is quite a startling film.
The film is steeped with wonderful character actors: Richard Farnsworth, Sam Shepard, Lois Smith and the luminous Eva La Gallienne, who plays the family matriarch. I adore this film. It is nuanced, well-written, well-thought out and lastly, well acted. It was filmed with a tiny budget and probably a very limited release and for the 12 people who were fortunate enough to see it in the theatre, I envy them. It's one of those hidden, undiscovered gems. If you can find it -- it's out of print -- it is well worth the two hours of your time. Ellen Burstyn reminds me again that she is the actor of her generation.
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