26 October 2005 | ccthemovieman-1
In A Class By Itself
This is truly a unique movie: in a class by itself. I had that opinion the first time I saw it on VHS and still feel the same way years later. It's been at the top of my list of favorite movies since I began compiling a list over a decade ago.
It's very dream-like, surreal, a film I never get tired of watching and I've watched this film more than any other in my large collection. If I had to pin it down to two reasons why, it would be the video and the audio.
The cinematography alone makes this movie worth watching repeatedly. Now that we all have access to a widescreen DVD version of this, the scenes are even more breathtaking. (I never had the pleasure of seeing this in a movie theater.)
The same superlatives can be used when discussing the soundtrack, a haunting music score that gets better and better each time one views this film. In fact, lately it's the music more than anything else I miss when I go periods without viewing this film.
The story is a simple one and is explained by others here. No need to repeat it. I find the narration to be unique, an unusual insight into the characters of the film and the thoughts of the little girl (Linda Manz), who does the narrating. The characters that continually fascinate me are Brooke Adams, as the lead female, and Robert J. Wilke, as the farm foreman. I guess it's their faces that intrigue me. Adams' down-turned mouth and sad look and Wilke's wrinklies catch my attention every time.
The story is interesting, generally low-key but with a few quick violent scenes that are quite memorable. More than that, one gets an incredible feel for the land and for the migrant workers of that time period. Another nice aspect of this film is the very small amount of profanity. Kids probably would be bored with this film but at least I wouldn't be afraid to show it to them.
But as many pluses as the story boasts, that haunting music and those incredible visuals are what drive me back for more. Great, great stuff.