Places in the Heart (1984)


Starring: Sally Field, Danny Glover, John Malkovich (his first feature film), Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan

Director: Robert Benton

Summary: A widow fights to keep her land during the Depression

Other Nominations: Director, Actress (Field)*, Supporting Actor (Malkovich), Supporting Actress (Crouse), Original Screenplay*, Costume Design

Even if there’s nothing exceptional here, this is a pretty solid film all-around. It definitely gets the period feel right, it has some charm to it with some solid characters (mainly from the A-plot with Fields/Glover/Malkovich), and is a quality drama. Fields is very good and this kind of “plucky single mother with a lot of gumption” (the same type of role she won her other Oscar for in Norma Rae) fits her like a glove, and Glover has a lot of natural charisma in one of his earliest major roles. The only thing that really drags this movie down is the B-plot with Harris, Crouse & Madigan, as the two plots feel barely-related and the characters are far less interesting. It doesn’t get developed all that well and it feels like it’s there to just pad time.

Overall: A nice little drama set during the Great Depression with some very good performances from a strong cast even if the B-plot doesn’t add a whole lot.

Rating: B-


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