10 August 2015

Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster 1997
  • Director: John Erman
  • Based on book: by Kaye Gibbons
  • Cast: Jena Malone, Julie Harris, Ted Levine, Glynnis O’Connor, Deborah Monk, Barbara Garrick, Zeljko Ivankek, Bill Nunn, Amanda Peet, Timothy Olyphant
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Jena Malone – The Hunger Games Catching Fire and Mockingjay, The Soloist, Into the Wild, Cold Mountain, The United States of Leland, Homicide Life on the Streets, Contact
    • Julie Harris -  Voyage of the Damned, Reflections in a Golden Eye, East of Eden, old TV series
    • Ted Levine  Shutter Island, Wild Wild West, Silence of the Lambs, Ironweed
    • Zeljko Ivankek – In Bruges, Manderley, Dogville, Dancer in the Dark, Snow Falling on Ceders, Homicide Life on the Streets, Donnie Brasco, The X Files
    • Bill Nunn – Spiderman, Kiss the Girls, Lethal Weapon, Sister Act, Mo’ Better Blues, Do the Right Thing
    • Amanda Peet – 2012, Igby Goes Down, Changing Lanes
    • Timothy Olyphant – I Am Number Four, A Life Less Ordinary, First Wives Club
  • Why: It was cheap and I think a teacher was mentioned
  • Seen: 1 August 2015 

Looking again at the DVD cover I’m afraid this is going to be hopelessly Hallmarkish. American as apple pie and all that. Oh well, I’ll give it a chance.
Precocious tom-boy Ellen has a nasty abusive alcoholic farther, a dying Bible-reading mother and a rich hateful grandmother with black servants in small-town North Carolina. And two aunts who worry about her but don’t want to do anything about it, like take her in.  A black couple whose daughter is Ellen’s best friend would take her in but it’s the 70’s and integration hasn’t gone that far yet.
Then she’s taken in by her favourite teacher and her flower-child husband. Too good to be true. Her evil grandmother gets a court order to take her in for no reason anyone can figure out. The lovely hippie couple send her off with tears in their eyes.
It is indeed hopelessly Hallmarkish.  Maybe my eight-year-old self who loved Pollyanna would have appreciated it. But these days too much sweetness just makes me feel a little ill.

1 ½ * of 5

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