Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Sweet Land

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The ideal Thanksgiving movie, this sincere heartland drama recalls Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven in its stunning landscapes and moving tale of hard times and elemental romance. On the plains of southern Minnesota shortly after World War I, an awkward Norwegian farmer (Tim Guinee) arrives at the local train depot to collect his arranged bride (Elizabeth Reaser) but discovers to his dismay that she's a German native without immigration papers. The town's straitlaced minister (John Heard) refuses to marry them, and the townspeople want nothing to do with a German, so the headstrong young woman moves in with the farmer's good-hearted friend (Alan Cumming, mercifully untwee) and his enormous family. Ali Selim, a successful director of commercials in Minneapolis, makes his feature directing debut with this simple and beautifully paced drama, letting the characters breathe and the land speak. In English and subtitled German and Norwegian. PG, 110 min. a Music Box.

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