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Thousand Acres, A (1997, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange)

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A modern-day telling of King Lear with Robards as a patriarch of a mid-Western farming dynasty who announces his desire to share the land between his three daughters precipitating a list of crises that threaten to engulf the family.

When Robards announces his intention of splitting the land between his three daughters, the first to raise her objection is his most beloved (JENNIFER JASON LEIGH) who for her pains is cast out from the family home leaving it to the two older daughters (MICHELLE PFEIFFER and JESSICA LANGE in their usual fine form) to try to make sense of their ailing father and his increasing senility while at the same time doing battle with each other. But for the women on this Iowa homestead and their husbands the irascible patriarch is not their only problem as the family are forced to face the shadow of breast cancer and some unpleasant truths in the form of infidelity and wife beating.

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jane Smiley, director Jocelyn Moorhouse (whose credits include How to Make an American Quilt) is the right choice for drawing together the intertwining stories of history, land, the family and their shared history and stories and while King Lear may not be the obvious choice it provides a wardrobe full of hangers for all the melodrama within.

production details
USA | 105 minutes | 1997

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Writer: Laura Jones
Novel: Jane Smiley

cast
Michelle Pfeiffer as Rose Cook Lewis
Jessica Lange as Ginny Cook Smith
Jason Robards as Larry Cook
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Caroline Cook
Colin Firth as Jess Clark
Keith Carradine as Ty Smith
Michelle Williams as Pammy
Elisabeth Moss as Linda
Kevin Anderson as Peter Lewis
Pat Hingle as Harold Clark
John Carroll Lynch as Ken LaSalle
Anne Pitoniak as Mary Livingstone
Vyto Ruginis as Charles Carter
Ray Toler as Marv Carson
Kenneth Tigar as Doctor
Steve Key as Loren Clark
Dan Conway as Henry Dodge
Stan Cahill as Frank
Ray Baker as Wallace Crockett
Beth Grant as Roberta
Andrea Nittoli as Waitress
Bob Gunton as Judge (uncredited)

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