Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sweet Land - A Love Story|
Actors: Elizabeth Reaser, Lois Smith, Patrick Heusinger, Stephen Pelinski, Tim Guinee
Director: Ali Selim
Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) is a feisty German mail-order bride who has come to Minnesota to marry Olaf (Tim Guinee), a young Norwegian immigrant farmer of few words. But in a post-WWI, anti-German climate, the local minister ... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Nate C. from UPLAND, CA
Reviewed on 1/15/2010...
Not a blockbuster but very sweet and endearing.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
One of the Finest Films of the Immigrant Experience Ever Mad
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ali Selim is a gifted artist and one that surely will continue to create magical films such as his masterpiece SWEET LAND in the coming years. Selim wrote the screenplay based on Will Weaver's perfect little short story 'A Gravestone Made of Wheat', found the perfect setting for his tale of the trials of immigrants entering America searching for the American Dream in the spacious grandeur of Minnesota, and selected a cast to bring life to his story that simply could not be better. This film DESERVED to be considered among the best at the time of awards.
Though the time of the story is 1920, the film opens much later in slow motion, only soft music comes from the soundtrack, yet the actors are mouthing words that make us realize we are witnessing the passing of someone important. When the characters begin to speak, the story of remembering what love and trials and experiences years ago were like, transporting us to a station house where we meet Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), a Norwegian/German girl who has come to America to marry a man she has never met, a man who will provide her with home, marriage, and a chance to start afresh. Her 'intended' is Olaf (Tim Guinee) who is shy and unsure of how to make Inge a part of his life: Inge's German background makes her suspect to the townsfolk who fear the course of Germany's power in WW I. Inge speaks no English but has been learning through a common phrase book. Olaf's friend Frandsen (a brilliant role for Alan Cumming), married to Brownie (Alex Kingston) with at least eight children already, helps Inge connect with Olaf. The intended marriage cannot take place with the minister (John Heard) because Inge can't speak English and because she is German... And there begins the trial that places Inge and Olaf in a home unmarried and fending for themselves.
Through extraordinary acts of love bestowed upon Frandsen and Brownie (threatened with eviction from their farm) Inge and Olaf gain the respect of the townspeople and gradually are appreciated for the strong couple they are. They are married, and have children, and the story proceeds to the point where it started, where the aged Inge (now played with humility, grace and style by Lois Williams) carries on the integrity of the departed Olaf and brings closure to her family's disparities through her bonding to her grandson Lars (Patrick Heusinger and later Stephen Pelinski). Both Inge and Olaf wished to be buried in the soil of their land that raised the wheat that gave them material and spiritual sustenance. And it is done.
There are numerous fine cameo roles portrayed by Ned Beatty, Paul Sand, Jodie Markell, Sage Kermes, Kirsten Frantzich, Stephen Yoakam, and Karen Landry. But the equal 'stars' of this breathtaking (and heart-taking) film are cinematographer David Tumblety and musical scoring by Thomas Lieberman and Mark Orton. The end credits are screen on the horizon of the farm with the young Inge and Olaf dancing, a touch that places Ali Selim in the ranks with the finest of filmmakers of the day. This is a brilliant, must-see film. Grady Harp, February 07
A Cinematic Gem That Deserves a Wider Audience
Erin Campbell | Minneapolis, MN | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sweet Land" is the only movie I've ever watched twice at the movie theaters. It was just as entertaining the second time I saw it. I am of Irish descent, and when I moved to Minnesota a few years ago, I found myself surrounded by many people of Scandavian heritage. "Sweet Land" allowed me to traverse back to my neighbors' cultural antecedents. (It also gave me a greater appreciation for basic amenities like indoor plumbing.) The movie seemed to really capture the hardscrabble existence of immigrants who risked coming to America for a better, more independent life. It also showed the cultural sensibilities the Scandavians brought over with them. The characters and their life stories are very memorable. "Sweet Land" is truly charming movie that deserves a much wider distribution."
chris weseloh | 04/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sweet Land is a movie about a mail-order bride from Germany who comes to America during the time right after WWI. Obviously, the towspeople are a little leary about having a German there so soon after the US had just finished war with them. Anyway, it follows the bride and her soon-to-be groom during their first few months together.
The story itself is great. It's completely simple, but still excellent. I truly enjoyed it. I saw this movie because it was dubbed the new 'Days of Heaven'. But other than the early 1900s farm setting, I saw few similarities. The cinematography was very well done, but still much different than Malick's film. Overall, I would say it was strong in visuals. My biggest complaint about this film was the present-time bookends. The meat of the story was a complete and beautiful film all by itself. The first 5-10 minutes and the last 5-10 minutes should have been cut. They were cliche and really did not match the tone of the rest of the film. Had those parts not been included, this movie is a 10/10.
Sweet Land is one of the best films of 2006 and you will be glad you saw it. If possible, see it with a significant other. It's a very rare 'real' love story, and well worth a viewing.