asakiyume: (shaft of light)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Initially I hadn't been thrilled by the notion of this film; I think because I feared (completely unjustifiably) that it would be purveying trite truths of one sort or another. But several of my friends reviewed it favorably, and finally last night I got to see it--and really loved it.

It's a totally different kind of film from Winter's Bone (by the same director), a very **gentle** story, and quiet, even though elements of the story aren't gentle at all. In fact, all through the movie there were moments when, primed by what Hollywood often does, I was on the edge of my seat expecting something horrible to happen--and it didn't.

The situation is that Tom (a girl) has been living with her PTSD-suffering war-veteran father in a national park, foraging, growing their own food, collecting rainwater--and occasionally going into town to buy things (which they finance by dad selling the medication he gets from the VA to other vets). They get found out and forced to reassimilate into society. Tom is adjusting, but her dad is not, and he announces they're taking off again. Reluctantly, she leaves with him, but things are much harder and grimmer this time around.

What I loved about it most were the moments with animals and the sense of how healing and enriching sharing time and space with animals can be. There's a scene where the dad is stroking a horse, and the horse rests its head against the dad, and the dad rests his head against the horse, and they're just still together for a moment, and oh my heart! Same with Tom stroking a rabbit she finds hopping along the road and returns to its owner; same later on when an older woman shows her the miracle of a hive of bees.

The beauty of the natural world resonates through the whole film, too, but the film understands that it's beauty that will kill you if you're underprepared--and Tom and her father understand that; in fact, everyone in the movie understands the situation and everyone else pretty well: the problem is what people can live with.

Thinking about everyone understanding brings up another thing I liked about the film: there wasn't really a villain. Even the state isn't villainous: it tries its best to accommodate Tom and her dad's unique needs within a framework of what's societally acceptable. It's just that it won't work for the dad.

I think that's the saddest thing in the film--that the dad just can't feel at ease in, apparently, any situation near other people, except his daughter, whom he loves very much, whereas she's growing into a person who wants to be near other people, though she loves her dad very much. But I'd call the ending happy: it's a good one for Tom, and it's set up in the film as one that's not doom-and-death for the dad either.

Date: 2018-12-31 02:16 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
Oh thank you for this. I would have stayed miles from this, expecting the usual Hollywood treatment going for the blood and anguish.

Date: 2018-12-31 03:08 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
That sounds very much worth watching. Where did you see it?

Date: 2018-12-31 03:00 pm (UTC)
genarti: Young woman perched among tree roots, hanging onto arching root and smiling with closed eyes. ([misc] treehugger at rest)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Same! But this sounds lovely.

Date: 2018-12-31 03:51 pm (UTC)
zyzyly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zyzyly
It's not a film I have heard about until now, but it sounds like something I would like to watch.

Date: 2018-12-31 07:47 pm (UTC)
e_d_young: (Default)
From: [personal profile] e_d_young
I get the feeling you didn't but did you read the book? I wonder if the natural world has as much presence in it. Actually, a nonfiction book-length account of the experience would be more interesting to me. And I can't help but wonder where the mom is in all this.

Date: 2018-12-31 09:28 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I was on the edge of my seat expecting something horrible to happen--and it didn't.

That's really lovely.

Date: 2019-01-01 06:33 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
From: [personal profile] sovay
it's about how even though the world-shared-with-others is not a horrible place, it's not a place the dad can be, and about the fact that this makes a hard, hard situation for him and his daughter.

Which makes the choices much more difficult than if the world were simply awful and he were protecting himself and his daughter from it.

I will look for this movie; I wanted to see it after Winter's Bone, but then it didn't bother to play any theaters near me.

Date: 2019-01-01 07:32 pm (UTC)
osprey_archer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] osprey_archer
Yes - your last paragraph, this exactly. This is something that I've found hard to articulate about this film, maybe because the argument it's making is so unusual - because it's an argument in favor of respecting the dad's autonomy, even though his choices are at best unusual and at worst truly unhealthy, and even though he ends up abandoning his daughter to follow them.

I have such mixed emotions about the ending of the movie, because this so clearly is what he wants to do with his life, but at the same time I feel like - maybe he should have tried harder to stay with his daughter, you know? It's not like he gave the community with the bee lady and the vet with the therapy dog a good college try but just couldn't hack it; he'd made up his mind to go back into the woods and he was waiting till his ankle healed so he could do so. Maybe he could have made it there, but he doesn't want to.

But then I think, no, if he doesn't want to then he shouldn't have to - even if staying isn't impossible, that shouldn't mean that he has to stay. (Does that make sense? I feel there should be a clearer way to say it.) It's not like he's abandoning Tom on the street, after all: she's in a safe place, and he's in a place where he feels safe (and he's well aware that the wilderness has it's perils).

...I also like to think that he'll eventually begin to drop by to visit Tom, possibly with presents of freshly foraged food.

Date: 2019-01-01 03:06 am (UTC)
minoanmiss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss
This review does my heart good. Thank you. :)

Date: 2019-01-01 06:12 am (UTC)
boxofdelights: (Default)
From: [personal profile] boxofdelights
On the strength of this, I've put it on hold at the library.

Date: 2019-01-01 04:47 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
Thanks-- I'd wondered about that movie with rather similar misgivings.

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