Movie Review

A Thousand Acres

Reviewed by: Julia Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
101 min.
R

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Colin Firth, Keith Carradine, Kevin Anderson and Jason Robards / Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse / Released by: Touchstone Pictures

The movie “A Thousand Acres” is based on a book with the same title by Jane Smiley. I had not read the book before seeing the movie and was glad that I hadn't. It seems that Jane Smiley tries to pack almost everything terrible that could happen to one family into one movie and it is just too much.

The movie takes place in Iowa on one family’s thousand acres of prime farm land. The staunch patriarch (Jason Robards) lives in the big house on the farm and two of his three daughters (Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer) live in the smaller houses on the farm with their husbands. The third and youngest daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has apparently escaped Daddy’s reign of terror and is a lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa.

As Daddy is getting on in age, he decides to incorporate the farm and divide it up between his three daughters. When the youngest balks at the move he swiftly cuts her out and moves ahead with his plans leaving the farm equally to his older two daughters. Through the process of trying to reconcile their father and sister we find out just what kind of family we are dealing with: affairs, incest, senility, death of the compassionate parent and loveless marriages. The only way the family seems to deal with their problems is through anger and denial. They are a church going family but their faith is not alive.

The movie leaves a sour note about Christians. In one instance the daughters are wondering if anyone would believe that their father had molested them because “he was a church going man.” In another instance the only big fist fight in the movie takes place at a church get-together and even the prayer offered over the gathering by the minister was flippant. Jane Smiley obviously does not have much faith in our faith.

This is not even a renter—unless you want to picture how the world would be without Christ in it!

Year of Release—1997

Viewer Comments
My husband and I endured this movie. It left me knowing that the author was not a Christian and had no concept of what one was. It left me angry that Iowa and its people were portrayed in such a manner. The people who live in this state are more compassionate than most. The people portrayed in this film were greedy and worldly with no thought of anyone else but themselves. The manner in which “church going people” were depicted almost made me want to throw up.

Most of the people in my state who attend a church would at least bow their heads during the saying of a prayer for a meal—especially when all gathered together. I hope more Iowans will agree with me when I say this movie is trash and that you should stay home and please don’t waste your time or money renting it. While it is true that incest does exist—this movie could have been a good vehicle to help others learn how to see the signs of such abuse and also show those involved in it how to get some help.

It is such a deep problem to deal with that it is impossible to present it in an entertaining way. I felt that it was just Hollywood’s way of making adultery look OK, as well as besmirching the Christian faith. It left one thinking that one sin is worse than another.
—Phillip Squibb
I saw this movie with my friend. We were looking for a “ladies day off” uplifting, enjoyable afternoon. I left the theater more depressed and sad than when I entered. I kept waiting for a redemable moment but it never materialized. I strongly encourage anyone to avoid this movie. Is there any true uplifting entertainment around anymore? Somehow Hollywood is missing the mark.

In God’s word it tells us: “Whatever is true, whatever is hornorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Phillipians 4:8. I believe our society is begging for wholesome entertainment.
—Jan Kelbert
…I give A Thousand Acres a thumbs down. Another degenerative movie from Touchstone… It is a very disturbing movie and does not give any true closure to the subject matter for anyone who may view it who has been a victim of incest… Christians and the church are not depicted in true perspective. In fact, a scene at a church social reflects a church full of hypocrites. While there are no vivid flash backs to the incidents of incest committed by their father on them while children, there are some disturbing flashbacks.

There are several scenes suggesting applauding extra marital sex by both of the older sisters with an old school friend who has returned to the rural area. The movie suggests two Christian women who are adulterous, drinkers, and don’t know the slightest thing about forgiveness. It is a put down to the family and the church. More trash from the makers of Disney. However, I must commend Jessica Lange for her stellar performance of the character she portrayed. Too bad her talent was wasted on this poor excuse for a movie.
—Sid Owens