23 August 2013 | Wuchakk
Breaking the rugged individualist
What a great drama "Abel's Field" is! Released in 2012, the story revolves around 17 year-old Seth (Samuel Davis) whose mother is dead and his father is no where to be found. He's forced to be the parent to his twin 7 year-old sisters. His cold half-brother is following in his father's alcoholic footprints. Seth is bullied at school by the football team and their bossy coach (Richard Dillard), but finds solace with a popular girl at school, Katie (Nicole Elliott), and -- surprisingly -- with the school's loner maintenance man, Abel (Kevin Sorbo).
Like all great dramas, "Abel's Field" captivates your attention in the first act and you find yourself in the world of the characters. As the story progresses we discover why Seth is mistreated at school, but it's thankfully not spelled out (it has to do with jealousy, rivalry and sectarianism, the moronic "Your not one of us" mindset). You'll notice, incidentally, that the players only confront & attack as a group and never alone. It's a microcosm of the mob mentality, not to mention they're too cowardly to attack one-on-one.
Three relationships are the focus: Seth's fatherly relationship with his sisters and his developing relationships with Katie and the mysterious Abel. Speaking of Abel, Sorbo is excellent here in an atypical role. His likable joie de vivre is completely absent in favor of a quiet, brooding spirit.
The message of the film is A+ all the way and the overt references to God and faith are refreshing, but they're not so overt to turn-off those who don't believe, so don't let this factor deter you if you're amongst the latter. This is simply an inspiring film for everyone, except maybe atheists (or perhaps them most of all, lol).
Those looking for a faith-based film that shows a conventional family environment might want to steer clear (not that there's anything wrong with those types of films; check out the excellent "Cutback" for a quality film of that sort). "Abel's Field" shows the awful truth of broken & dysfunctional families in the modern Western world and the negative repercussions thereof. Thankfully, that doesn't mean that there isn't any hope; but the proud individualist must be broken, both for Seth and Abel.
I also like the fact that the film shows that the mentors we stumble across in life are there to mentor us in one way or another, but we shouldn't make the mistake of idolizing them, no matter how great (or small) the mentor is, he or she is still a flawed human being who just so happens to be further on in their spiritual journey, at least in the area we need help in.
Another thing I liked: Just because someone's in the "mentor" role doesn't mean the "mentee" can't mentor the mentor in one way or another. And a worthy (humble) mentor will receive from the mentee when applicable.
One reviewer referred to Nicole Elliott, who plays Seth's potential girlfriend, as "overweight." Wow, nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, this isn't even remotely true. Check her out in the film and see for yourself. It's idiotic statements like this that drive women and girls into anorexia and it totally ticks me off! If anything, Nicole could stand to gain some weight. Regardless, she's uniquely beautiful, a refreshing alternative to the stereotypical hot blond cheerleader type.
The film runs 104 minutes and was shot in Thrall, TX, which is about 20 miles NE of Austin.