Ethan Frome | Chicago Reader

Ethan Frome

I haven't read the Edith Wharton novel, and I can't say this slow (albeit stately) American Playhouse-BBC TV adaptation—written by Richard Nelson and directed by John Madden—makes me want to. Set in rural Massachusetts around the turn of the century, the film concerns the tortured, crippled, and solitary title figure (Liam Neeson); the story of how he got that way is told in flashback to a recently arrived minister (Tate Donovan). It's a very American story about love (a little) and guilt (a lot) involving two women (Patricia Arquette and Joan Allen) and more repression than you can shake a stick at (1992).

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