After Samuel is killed in World War I, the dynamic between Tristan and Alfred changes. They both fall in love with Susannah (Julia Ormond), Henry’s fiance. As they compete for her heart and their future, their formerly tight bond starts to fray.
Nearly 30 years on, it has become a modern classic. It is beautifully shot and tells the story of an ordinary family living through extraordinary times. While I appreciate the humanity of the Native American characters (who in the past have only been shown as 2D stereotypes), I dislike the portrayal of Susannah.
As usual, her sole role is that of the love interest and the reason for the division of the male characters. She does not have any agency or any other reason for existing within this narrative. Which is a shame, because Ormond has proven herself as a capable actress.
On the road to the market, they eat at a restaurant owned by Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Rose is a widow who has been forced to change her life to support herself and Peter after the abrupt passing of her late husband. Phil’s callous and cruel jokes drive both mother and son to tears. George tries to make up for his brother’s actions, which turns into a marriage proposal. When Rose and Peter enter Phil’s orbit as his sister-in-law and nephew, this new reality turns his world upside down. Taking the boy under his wing, Phil swings between mocking Peter and teaching him how to run a ranch.
The question is, has Phil started to change, or is this a ploy to continue his brutish ways?
It has nothing to do with the performers or the story itself. Director and co-screenwriter Jane Campion does what she does best. Cumberbatch once again proves that he is one of the most versatile actors in the business. Plemmons and Dunst are well cast for their roles and the perfect ying to Cumerbatch’s yang. Smit-McPhee is a young actor who solely based on his one role, has a bright future. The problem is that I was on the verge of being bored and wondering why I should care about these characters.