12 June 2007 | lee_eisenberg
all relatives are something
Barbara Hershey won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Andrei Konchalovsky's "Shy People". The movie portrays a magazine writer (Jill Clayburgh) and her daughter (Martha Plimpton) taking a trip to the Louisiana boondocks to meet a distant relative (Hershey). As the movie progresses, we learn not only about the relative's various kinds of superstitions, but also about the secrets that the great uncle held, and how they relate to some current rifts in the family.
Probably the movie's best aspect is how it dignifies country people. While making it clear that these folks have some backwards notions about things - namely that the deceased man is still watching - Konchalovsky never makes them look stupid. Also, we get to see rural Louisiana (although it may have changed in the past twenty years, especially after Hurricane Katrina).
If anything mildly disappointed me about the movie, it's that I didn't get to hear more about Cajun culture. But then again, it's probably best that the movie didn't lose its main focus. I would suspect that the one boy was right when he accused the oil companies.
All in all, worth seeing.