Off the Map (2003)
USA / English
"A Very Powerful Place
"An 11-year-old girl watches her father come down with a crippling depression. Over one summer, she learns answers to several mysteries and comes to terms with love and loss.
Worth watching, plain and simple.
I was torn somewhat between the precocious kid and the depressed dad.
It was a little too much and yet the simple beauty of the New Mexico
landscape offset their performance. A tighter conflict would have
helped the pacing.
Everything seemed to balance itself out though, and most should find
something to like about this movie.
I adore Joan Allen. She is built like a leading lady, looks, walks and
talks like a leading lady yet is a great character actor as proved
here. I had to look a little close to recognize her and I love that in
great acting talent.
Sam Elliott, a veritable man's man, held steady. I think his effort was
commendable though having been around persons afflicted with various
types of depression, his seemed a bit vague, and uneven. It was like a
functioning catatonia with bouts of chattering. I didn't get it. Since
his mental illness was,in essence, the spine of the story, the spine
was a bit bent. Still,handsome Sam is still watchable and worthy of our
respect as he does not seem uncomfortable with his gray hairs or his
wrinkles. Very anti-Hollywood.
Of the ensemble cast, I really enjoyed J.K. Simmons. Simmons who seems
to have put most of the food on the table career-wise by playing
nasties (especially in OZ) as well as disaffected authority figures,
was refreshing as George, an everyman with a simpleness that was most
In closing, I think I would have liked the movie better if they had
given proper treatment to the depressive issues affecting Charlie, Sam
Elliott's character. Mental illness advocates might agree.
Still it was a bit like Walden Pond, New Mexico with more people.
Again, my criticisms aside, there is plenty to like about this. It's
worth the time to watch this movie.
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