Daily News header

The Stone Angel Movie Review

By     get stories by email

While seniors tend to get no respect in movies, more often than not seen through a narrow prism ranging from pitiful creatures to silly caricatures, The Stone Angel should be applauded for having something much more multi-dimensional in mind. Namely, that the elders of the tribe have accumulated a rich history behind them, and vivacious youthful dreams to match.

Based on the cross-generational Canadian novel by Margaret Laurence and directed by Kari Skogland, The Stone Angel feverishly pursues the intricacies of lives playing out across the many years. But this ambitious effort often sacrifices dramatic depth and clarity for details and chronological milestones.

Ellen Burstyn never disappoints as Hagar, a stubborn as a mule, borderline holy terror 90 year old rural Manitoba woman, who resists the efforts of her son Marvin (Dylan Baker) to put her in a nursing home. We soon get a revealing glimpse into the origins of Hagar's feisty personality, through private flashbacks to her youth as a contrary, pigtailed free spirit, who rebelled against the domineering behavior of her stern, widowed Scottish immigrant father.


The obstinate, educated and independent-minded young woman (played by Christine Horne) later rejects the various suitors her father lines up for her to consider as marriage prospects. Including, she notes sarcastically, 'the widowed doctor with three chins, the clothing salesman with more hair in his nose than on his head, and the undertaker who looks like a ferret.' When Hagar defies her prosperous dad by marrying Bram (Cole Hauser), the local penniless bad boy hunk, he disowns her. And as the couple struggles through the years through unrelieved economic hardship, the marriage sours and Bram drifts into alcoholism and reckless, anti-social behavior.

All these many events flow through Hagar's mind in the present, as she runs away back to the farm where she once raised her children and struggled to find happiness amid frequent personal tragedy. The problem is that far less would have been much more, as key episodes in this conflicted woman's life are barely touched upon in passing without sufficient explanation, and are at times simply announced rather than dramatized.

There are devilishly delightful moments of surprising humor that break through the dreary chronology of family history, as when the elderly Hagar makes her continued interest in sexual urges more than clear to everyone around her. Or taking time out to share a joint with a stranger, and reminisce about her son's pot garden on the farm that he thought she knew nothing about. And that unpredictable, precocious live wire Ellen Page turns up too for good measure in a steamy incestuous cameo, getting it on with a danger junkie kinda guy on Hagar's memory lane kitchen table.

Viviendi Entertainment
Rated R
2 stars

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Movie reviewer Kam Williams interviews actor Marlon Wayans about his new movie, A Haunted House 2 and shares it with NewsBlaze readers around the world.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams gives the film, Small Time 3 stars. He said it is very good and realistic, a slice-of-life drama highlighting the plight of a teen with a hole in his soul who's understandably torn between moving on with his life.
Kam Williams reviews The Railway Man, an introspective story of Eric Lomax, one of 60,000+ POWs forced to build the Burma Railway, known as the Death Railway, because so many died.
Movie review Kam Williams interviews Bridget Moynahan about the movie Small Time. Here she talks about the coming-of-age drama co-starring Christopher Meloni, Devon Bostick and Dean Norris.
Prairie Miller talks to filmmaker Lars von Trier discussing what this work in progress several years ago at Cannes, may or may not have to do with Hitler, heresy, hedonism and existential despair - before being booted from the festival.
Prairie Miller talks to people's performer David Rovics on guitar in his musical depiction of that insurrectionary time with his song, Landlord.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site