Places in the Heart

The first of three films in a three month span that all featured a “Save the Farm” theme. This is the picture that resulted in a thousand Sally Field jokes for her Academy Award acceptance speech and it introduced us to John Malkovich who has been a welcome presence in films now for the last thirty years. This was the only one of the three to get a best picture nomination although the lead actress in all three of the farm movies was nominated for her performance. Politics may have played a part since economic issues concerning the farm industry were widely discussed in the election year, and just a couple of years later, John Mellancamp and Willie Nelson started the “Farm Aid” project.

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There are a dozen other supporting players in the film who will also become familiar or were already well known in supporting roles as well. The movie is a loosely structured series of tableau focusing on the lives of two sisters in rural Texas in 1935. The leading characters could all be representations of some of my own family members since my wife’s parents grew up in just such places. Her folks would have been about the age of Sally Fields two children in the movie. Like my belief that “Racing with the Moon” was probably a pretty accurate depiction of my parents as teens, this film feels very true to the depression dominated times in rural America.

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