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Film beautifully evokes time and place, but the soap opera story is dull
This romantic crime drama takes place on an North Carolina tobacco farm during the Great Depression, where a young farmer and his beautiful wife reside and struggle to make a living. Roxy, the heroine, lives a life of isolation and monotony, constantly doing housework and caring for their toddler daughter. She and her husband Aaron can make a living, but are just going through the motions and there doesn't seem to be much love in their marriage. Her husband doesn't seem that interested in her. When a good-looking farm hand named Jack arrives to help her husband with the work in exchange for room and board, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Of course they have a passionate affair and after a while, Aaron suspects what's happening. Most of what happens is predictable and more importantly, it happens very slowly. I give credit to the film, it looks great. The sets, props, and costumes really take us back and the atmosphere is superbly caught. Yet by being so beautifully photographed, it inevitably glamorizes the grueling life of the times. There are a lot of scenes of farm work and while it's no doubt accurate, it slows down the story. The film seems much longer than its 80 minute running time. More importantly, the story itself is mere soap opera. Every plot twist is "been there, done that." Most of the acting is adequate. Anthony Edwards as the husband and Bruce Abbot as the lover are OK. There are some fine actors in secondary roles(Kathy Bates, Clu Gulager), but they're stuck in two-dimensional roles. It's up to Lori Singer in the lead role to carry the film. Yet while she's beautiful, she isn't memorable otherwise. Ironically, her performance sets the tone for the entire movie. For all its visual appeal, there is just no interest in any of the characters.
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