Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 3/29/2014...
Places in the Soul
Tom Schusterbauer | West Bloomfield, Michigan United States | 01/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It begins with communion. No, not a church setting, but something equally spiritual--all manner of families, black and white, poor and not so poor (remember, this is small town Texas during the Depression), sitting down to Sunday afternoon dinner, saying or singing "grace," heads down, holding hands. Circles of families, joined together in brittle and fragile unity against the winds of despair that swept through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas during the 1930s. Moments of tender mercies. "Places in the Heart" is a story of circles broken, families shattered, hatred and racism unleashed. After the senseless death of her husband, Edna Spaulding is left to do for herself, and for her family. Her task is clear--to do whatever she can to mend the breach in her family, to keep herself and her children together, to build a new communion. With the help of Moses (Danny Glover) and Mr. Will (John Malkovich), Edna (Sally Fields) does all she can to keep tragedy from her door. Whether she succeeds or fails is not, it seems to me, the true heart of this film. No, the center of "Places in the Heart" is, again, communion, new circles being formed, old trespasses being forgiven, renewed belief in enduring values. This a lovely film, generous of spirit, unafraid to wear its heart and its spirit on its sleeve. The results are moments of aching grace, deep tenderness, unabashed sentiment. This film asks you to feel, to set aside the ironic eye, the cynicism of our time. There are things, the film insists, in which we can and must believe if we are to prevail in a world that is--at best--unrelenting and--at worst--soul shattering. Communion--"Places in the Heart" concludes with several of the most moving and spiritual minutes I have ever experienced in a film. The scene beggars description. To say that the conclusion is epiphanic is not to say enough. You have to watch and listen--and then, thanks to VCR's and DVD's, you have to watch and listen again. Watch and listen to the sights and sounds of communion, of deep, abiding faith, of circles refusing to be broken. This past Christmas, I gave my 33-year-old son a copy of this film. He remembered it from years ago. He understood perfectly that "Places in the Heart" is a film for sacred seasons, for all seasons."
Alot of Heart
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 10/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Places In The Heart is director Robert Benton's look back at life in Depression era Texas. Sally Field stars as Edna Spalding, a recent widow who struggles and fights to keep her family together by raising cotton. She enlists the help of a drifter named Mose who knows the in and outs of growing cotton. One hurdle is that Mose is black and the locals make it rough on them. Danny Glover is superb as Mose as is John Malkovich as a blind boarder, Mr. Will. Lindsay Crouse and Ed Harris are Edna's sister and brother-in-law and Ms. Crouse is excellent as she struggles with the philandering ways of her husband. But through it all, Ms. Field carries the film. She perfectly conveys the determination of a woman facing tremendous odds. she shows a strong front, but a touching vulnerability when facing set back after set back. Ms. Field deservedly won her second Best Actress award and yes we really do like her."
OF LOSS, LOVE AND HOPE
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 11/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Few movies hit you so unabashedly in the heart with a melodramatic wallop as Benton?s Places in the Heart, yet manage to avoid feeling cheap. A deeply touching slice of the depression era, worthy of all the Oscars it bagged (screenplay, best actress for Fields) plus several nominations. Sally Field weilds absolute acting prowess as Edna Spaulding, a wife and mother of two kids who becomes widowed after a drunk accidentally shoots her husband. So she decides to make some money by planting cotton. She takes in a very friendly black man (wonderfully played by Danny Glover) who helps her get and plant the cotton, and a smart blind man (played by John Malkovich in an Oscar-nominated performance) who's a paying boarder. These three adults and the two children form a little family together, and this is the part of "Places in the Heart" that works best. Other characters add to the story. Lindsey Crouse was also Oscar-nominated for her portrayl of Field's sister who comes to help out after tragedy strikes early on. Ed Harris plays Crouse's husband who's having an affair with another woman, which makes for a somewhat inessential subplot. But that's a minor grouse. Apart from the top-notch performances, the film's stunning finale is an unforgettable cinematic statement about hope. Had everyone in the room jerking a tear. On DVD the film doesn't really look like an old movie (1984) if that bothers you. A highly recommended gem for any collection!"
"Places in the Heart" Wins Hearts All Over Again
Amanda J. Higgins | Mankato, MN USA | 10/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now that "Places in the Heart" has been re-released on VHS and DVD, many more people will be able to experience this 1984 classic. Starring some of the acting greats like Sally Field, John Malkovich, Ed Harris, and Danny Glover, "Places in the Heart" is a realistic look at the lives and views of people in the 1930s. This movie tackles issues such as racism, adultery, and people learning to "live again" after they've had to overcome many obstacles.Edna Spalding (Sally Field) plays a woman recently widowed who suddenly has to figure out how to support herself and two children during Depression times. Moze (Danny Glover), a black man looking for room and board, offers the "crazy" suggestion of growing cotton and, desperate to try anything to keep her family together, Spalding steps up to the challenge. More important than Spalding's need for money, she must prove to herself and those around her that she can take care of her family. She had always just been a wife and a mother and nothing more had previously been asked of her. A blind boarder, Mr. Will (John Malkovich), "sees" the harshness and bigotries of life and is a quiet yet interesting observer of what's going on around him. Also added to this mix are Spalding's brother-in-law Wayne (Ed Harris) and sister Margaret (Lindsay Crouse) who go through marital struggles when Wayne becomes involved with another woman (Amy Madigan). They fight the basic human problem of being good people but making bad decisions.Field's performance as Spalding is a great one--evidenced by her Best Actress Oscar for the role. Another Oscar was rewarded for Best Overall Screenplay and nominations were made for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Malkovich), Best Supporting Actress (Crouse), and Best Costume Design. Though "Places in the Heart" is often overlooked, it's a wonderful film overflowing with love, bravery, friendship, and strength of character."
One of the best American films of the eighties
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 04/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With storytelling of Dickensian authority, brilliant casting matched with excellent performances including the work of the two children, this film remains a very strong candidate as one of the best American movies of the 1980's. The central story follows the story of two sisters in parallel - one loses her husband through an accident in the line of duty, the other (nearly) loses her husband through his infidelity. The widow overcomes her loss through faith in her ability to prevail, through ignoring the question of race - her husband was shot dead by a young black boy - and through love. Her sister forgives her unfaithful husband. The film does not ignore the cancer of racism in a country that professes to be "the land of the free", nor does it ignore the struggle those of the land face with the forces of nature - and banks. It is all of a whole and adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Brilliant but not flashy. It seems as real as the land it depicts."