and Michelle Pfeiffer
are quietly dazzling in this underrated adaptation of Jane Smiley's best-selling modern version of King Lear. The two play sisters of a stubborn, alcoholic Iowa farmer (Jason Robards), who decides to leave his fertile farm to them and their youngest sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh). It is a decision that rends the family, setting siblings against one another and forcing long-held secrets out of their guilty closets. The family dynamics become ever more destructive, and the refuge of sanity the two older sisters have created may be their only salvation. It's a tragedy not quite on a Shakespearean scale, but anyone who appreciates the difficulties of a dysfunctional family will relate to the heartbreak--and the promise of redemption. Pfeiffer especially is breathtaking as the good housewife Rose, whose rage at her father and her husband is never far from her placid surface. --Anne Hurley
When retiring Iowa farmer Larry Cook announces that he wishes to split his land between his three daughters, the eldest - Ginny (Jessica Lange) and Rose (Michelle Pfeiffer) reluctantly agree. However, Caroline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) disagrees, and is disowned by Larry as a result. The decision sparks off a tragic family feud: Larry soon falls out with Ginny, who has begun an affair with a local boy, and Rose, but loses a court battle to regain control of his farm.
A Thousand Acres
, director Jocelyn Moorhouse's screen adaptation of Jane Smiley's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, finds skeins of King Lear
-like conflict running through the bedrock of a midwestern family. Jason Robards stars as Larry Cook, a powerful, stoic Iowa farmer who decides to retire and split his 1,000 acres of land among his three daughters. His two eldest daughters, Rose (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Ginny (Jessica Lange), live and work on the farm and happily accept the lucrative agreement, while the youngest, Larry's favorite, Caroline (Jennifer Jason Leigh), has abandoned farming life for a law career in Des Moines and refuses to take part in the deal. Initially, Larry is consumed with rage and shuts out Caroline while Rose and Ginny go about running the farm with their dutiful but greedy husbands. However, as Larry begins to lose touch with his farming life, he loses touch with reality, and his painful descent into madness leaves him bitterly opposed to his daughters' ways of running the farm. Paranoid and disillusioned, he decides to sue Rose and Ginny with Caroline's help in an effort to regain his patriarchal control. The lawsuit divides the family forever, leaving Rose and Ginny to suffer alone while realising painful memories from their childhood. As Rose and Ginny discover their own individual strengths in the face of adversity, they learn how to survive on their own, without the protection of the farm and the suffocating presence of their father. Moorhouse's film is an epic tale of loss and redemption that highlights strong and earthy performances from Pfeiffer and Lange.
A heart tugging triumph. -- The Sun
From the Back Cover
The seeds of desruction are sown when indomitable patriarch, Larry Cook, impulsively decides to disribute his fertile farm spanning 1,000 acres among his three daughters, Ginny, Rose and Caroline. The apportioned land soon begins to divide the family - long guarded secrets, unspoken rivalries and denied desires buried just beneath the surface of their respective lives are unwillingly uneathed, with profound catastrophic and ultimately liberating repercussions.