Places in the Heart | Chicago Reader

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Robert Benton spends most of this film signaling his intentions to make a noble, stirring piece of dust-bowl Americana on the model of a Ford or Vidor, yet the goods he delivers are wholly synthetic. A sub-Stallone rah-rah plot about a bunch of lovable representatives of minority groups (a woman, a black, a cripple, two kids) banding together to bring in the big cotton harvest is interlaced with an earnestly “adult” story of marital infidelity that smells distantly of William Inge. Unfortunately, the two stories are related only by Benton's crass determination to wring the audience's tear ducts; there's nothing but sheer manipulativeness holding this picture together. With Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, John Malkovich, and Danny Glover (1984).

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