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The Homesman (2014)

aka The Homesman

Directed By: 
Details: 122 mins · English

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There's not much to love about it.

Director Tommy Lee Jones shoots with a steady hand and captures picturesque landscapes in The Homesman, but neither positive aspect can compensate for the unpleasantness of this anti-feminist Western’s story. It starts out promising when the tough homesteader Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) takes on a task that men in her town are unable or unwilling to do: transporting three mentally ill women across dangerous territory to a place where they will receive care. Early on Cuddy finds George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) at the end of a hangman’s noose and rescues him in exchange for his help. She remains an impressive character because she doesn’t take any shit from him. Although somewhere toward the middle, Jones disappoints you by turning the movie into a story about his character instead of Swank’s. Aside from Swank’s committed performance and a delightfully brutal scene involving James Spader, there’s not much to love about this film. Its chronologically disjointed scenes don’t come...(more)

Director Tommy Lee Jones shoots with a steady hand and captures picturesque landscapes in The Homesman, but neither positive aspect can compensate for the unpleasantness of this anti-feminist Western’s story. It starts out promising when the tough homesteader Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) takes on a task that men in her town are unable or unwilling to do: transporting three mentally ill women across dangerous territory to a place where they will receive care. Early on Cuddy finds George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) at the end of a hangman’s noose and rescues him in exchange for his help. She remains an impressive character because she doesn’t take any shit from him. Although somewhere toward the middle, Jones disappoints you by turning the movie into a story about his character instead of Swank’s. Aside from Swank’s committed performance and a delightfully brutal scene involving James Spader, there’s not much to love about this film. Its chronologically disjointed scenes don’t come together cohesively as a narrative and it employs excessive scenes of violent sexual assault to prove a point. The West was a horrible place for women. We get it. (less)

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Tommy Lee Jones' overlooked Western

I don't recall hearing about this movie when it came out, but caught it on Netflix thanks to New York Time's "Watch" recommendations. It was a Western that had many predictable elements--determined woman sets of on a journey (a la True Grit ). Pairs up with unwilling man (also reminiscent of True Grit). During the journey they face danger and challenges and learn to respect one another. But some of the events subvert expectations. The movie had some weak points (a few things that didn't seem plausible or that didn't play out in a convincing way) but overall I really liked it.

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Cast:

Small Mary Bee Cuddy
Small Altha Carter
Small George Briggs
No_movie_poster Arabella Sours
Small Theoline Belknapp
No_movie_poster Gro Svendsen
No_movie_poster Thor Svendsen
Small Reverend Dowd
Small The Freighter
Small Aloysius Duffy
Small Garn Sours
Small Bob Giffin
Small Tabitha Hutchinson
Small Buster Shaver

Crew:

Small Tommy Lee Jones Directing
Small Luc Besson Production
No_movie_poster Peter M. Brant Production
Small Tommy Lee Jones Production
No_movie_poster Brian Kennedy Production
No_movie_poster Kieran Fitzgerald Writing
No_movie_poster Wesley A. Oliver Writing
No_movie_poster Miles Hood Swarthout Writing
No_movie_poster Glendon Swarthout Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Roberto Silvi Editing
No_movie_poster Peter Brant Production
Small Tommy Lee Jones Writing
No_movie_poster Glendon Swarthout Writing

Plot:

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2014-01-01 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2014-05-18 : France

Theatrical : 2014-11-14 : United States of America

2014-05-18 : Cannes