Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Homesman is a Powerful Western Drama

I’m not a huge western fan.  I’ve never been one for the whole cowboys and Indians storyline but I am a huge fan of period dramas and so I decided to give The Homesman a try.  Directed by Tommy Lee Jones and starring him alongside Hillary Swank, I figured the film had enough dramatic weight to be worth the watch and I was right.  The film was brilliantly acted and saw supporting roles by James Spader, John Lithgow, and Meryl Streep.  Taking place in the Nebraska territories in the mid-19th century, the film focuses on Mary Bee Cuddy (Hillary Swank), a single woman in her early 30’s who left her life in New York for a fresh start in the Western territories.  Though she has been successful monetarily, she has had no luck in securing a husband, something which begins to weigh heavily on her mind fueling a deep depression.  When three other women in their small frontier town go insane because of the daily stresses of their lives coupled with instances of tragedy, Mary Bee offers to take them back across the Ohio river to a church which has offered them sanctuary and care.  Along the way she saves a man named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) left for dead by men who found him using land that wasn’t his.  After saving his life, he agrees to help Miss Cuddy on her journey.  While the film lacked any significant action, its strong suit was its ability to convey the mental hardships of life on the frontier.  The quiet, vast solitude is something that deeply affects the human psyche and that was represented clearly through each and every character.  While Mary Bee and George help these three women who’ve snapped, it becomes ever clearer that the two of them are not far off from that same insanity.  In the end, you’re left with both a profound respect and fear for the life of these pioneers and the struggles they had to go through to push the boundaries of this country westward.

1 comment:

  1. After reading this, I am anxious to see the movie!