A Piece of Eden

A TV publicist leaves New York to take charge of his family's farm in Indiana. To demonstrate to his father that he's sincere, he asks his newly hired, inept assistant to pose as his wife and pretend she's pregnant. Love story, father-son confrontation, and business-as-adventure story, this earnest drama is so busily formulaic it somehow transcends its conceits. The son stakes his reputation and the family's assets on a scheme to expand the business, and the uncertainty of the outcome is unintentionally but effectively expressed in the clunky filmmaking—director John Hancock (Bang the Drum Slowly) is an old hand, but A Piece of Eden has the enthusiasm and naivete of a first feature. The project of the main character—who'd rejected farming for what his family disparagingly calls show business—becomes a charming metaphor for the making of the movie, which was shot on Hancock's family's farm and written by his wife, Dorothy Tristan. With Marc Grapey, Rebecca Harrell, Robert Breuler, and Tyne Daly.

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