Film Review: Feminism Humbles Tommy Lee Jones in Heartfelt Western ‘The Homesman’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – In Tommy Lee Jones’ passion project “The Homesman,” the wild west provides a vivid setting for a battle in man’s endless war against women, as the film firmly occupying a genre strictly known for cowboys and pioneer machismo. It’s a sorrowful western from actor/writer/director Jones that often shines in its twilight, hoping to slightly reconcile the maltreatment unleashed on half of the world’s most powerful species. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Living outside standard domestic criteria of a developing America in the mid 1800s is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), a woman without a spouse or a child, who only takes care of herself and her giant farm. When three extremely psychologically-disturbed women are in need of transport to a hospital up north where they can receive help, Mary Bee volunteers to take on the journey, despite the town initially requiring that a man lead the expedition.

Meanwhile, a dusty vagrant named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) sits on a horse, a noose connected to a tree tied around his neck. Mary Bee sees George in this state by chance, and frees George on the condition that he help her with taking the women across a wintry Nebraska. Rescuing women from emotionally negligent or abusive husbands, along with the overwhelming demands of their gender roles, George and Mary Bee traverse the open territory in a wagon, and face the elements of nature and fellow man along the way.

Boasting a huge cast that is doled out at a speed that matches its plot’s gradual nature, “The Homesman” is accelerated with its performances, especially galvanized turns from Jones and Swank. While its wagoning journey of “The Homesman” is propelled more distinctly by themes than narrative, the openness of the terrain and forces provide some thoroughly tense moments, such as when a character travels through a fog’s void, or when George and Mary Bee encounter natives with unpredictable intent.

“The Homesman” is now playing at select theaters. Starring Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Sonja Richter, Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer, Tim Blake Nelson, John Lithgow, Hailee Steinfeld, and Meryl Streep. Written by Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, and Wesley A. Oliver; adapted from the novel of the same title by Glendon Swarthout. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones.

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of “The Homesman”

The Homesman
‘The Homesman’
Photo credit: Roadside Attractions

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of “The Homesman”

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