Saturday, August 18, 2012

Another terrific movie you've probably never seen...

"Resurrection" starring Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard, Eva LaGallienne. I'll let the NY Times review give you the synopsis:

''Resurrection,'' ... has the simple, charmed manner of a fairy tale. Once upon a time, Lewis John Carlino's story goes, there was a woman named Edna (Ellen Burstyn) who was very much in love with her husband. Then she gave him a sports car for his birthday, and he died in an accident. Edna nearly died in the accident herself, and, in fact, she saw the visions reserved for those who pass into an afterlife. But Edna returned, and found herself partly paralyzed. She was despondent until, on a car trip with her father, she met a very strange man in the desert. The man had a two-headed snake, which was even stranger. Edna wasn't with this man very long, but something he did must have changed her. From this point on, she had the power to heal.
    " The movie follows Edna as she cures patient after patient by the laying on of hands. She even cures her own paralysis. After a while, she becomes involved with a sullen, handsome, volatile young man who questions the source of her powers, challenging her to acknowledge a religious element, but Edna insists it's all just a matter of love.... this is a movie that really seems to have brought out the best in everyone who worked on it. Chief among them is Miss Burstyn, who gives the kind of performance that makes all the odd events in the screenplay seem perfectly plausible, perfectly sane. Her presence is radiant, and so steadying it lets the movie exert a tremendous emotional pull.
     "The whole cast of ''Resurrection'' is outstanding. The playwright Sam Shepard, who showed such promise as he made his acting debut in ''Days of Heaven,'' realizes that promise here. As Edna's hottempered lover, he brings a keen, nervous alertness to the role, and a presumptuousness that turns very appealing. Richard Farnsworth, as the old man Edna meets at the gas station, has only a few moments to make his mark upon the audience, and succeeds beautifully; in a very short time, he suggests all the magic his character is supposed to have. Also notable are Eva Le Gallienne and Lois Smith, playing high-spirited members of Edna's large family in the heartland, and Roberts Blossom as her terse, unyielding father. Mr. Blossom's character, like many in the movie, is obliged to undergo wrenching changes in order to keep the story moving, but he accomplishes this comfortably."

The Times seemed to have a bit of trouble with the faith aspect of this picture and found parts of it "weepy". Well you may tear up at points, but the tears are earned by the wonderful cast. Eva LaGallienne was a legendary actress, director and producer during the first half of the 20th century (you remember the 20th century) and she's luminous here. 

I don't know why this movie affected me so, but I suspect a lot of it has to do with Ellen Burstyn whom I love. The end is lovely and a nice coda. 

And make no mistake, this is not just about faith or "religion" or healing -- there's a great deal to do with family, with the changes people go through whether they want to, or intend to, or not. 

It's available on DVD and should not be confused with another movie titled "Resurrection" starring Christopher Lambert. I checked on Amazon, which leads to the following digression: the customer review of the Lambert movie (apparently a horror thriller) is so (unintentionally) funny, I had to share part of it here: 

  "I don't want to ruin the main concept but this film is full of gore and grissly, graphic scenes. Not for the squirmish. The graphic scenes are so realistic and what the maniac ends up doing is shocking! Lambert plays detective Prudhomme who is not partically accepted by his fellow officers, except his partner, Andrew. Several disturbing murders occur and slowly Prudhomme pieces the puzzle together and the end result is so disturbing."

Suffice to say I probably won't be renting this one. I tend to be "squirmish". (Actually, not a bad word...)

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