Projections - Movie Reviews

Far and Away

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, real-life husband and wife, are clearly two of today's most attractive actors.  That they also happen to have a terrific on-screen spark is an added bonus.

Encouraged by pamphlets advertising Oklahoma's free land give-away in the 1890s, and running away from her rich land-owner parents, Shannon Christy (Kidman) flees Ireland, and takes Joseph Donnelly (Cruise), the son of a poor potato fanner, with her.

Landing in Boston, Joseph gets a job boxing in an Irish social club and Shannon as a chicken plucker.  The America that they read about, rolling green pastures with streams running through, is not the America they find.  They room as brother and sister in a cheap brothel, and the Irish they meet are a rowdy, boozy and brawling bunch.

After many fights and unfortunate circumstances, Shannon and Joseph finally make it, although separately, to Oklahoma where they participate in the Great Land Rush of 1893.  Truly the most spectacular scene, it shows hundreds of people, armed with different colored stakes and big expectations, racing their horses and buckboards to be the first to claim a piece of land.

Director and co-writer Ron Howard worked ten years developing this film.  The movie is long and filled with cliched characters, but it's never dull.  The many fights, verbal and otherwise, along with comedy and beautiful sprawling scenery, more than hold your attention.

Kidman and Cruise are delightful to watch, their Irish brogue thickening as their tempers flare.  However, it will probably disappoint movie goers to find out that red-headed and feisty Shannon and stubborn, handsome Joseph wait until almost the end of the picture before they have their first on-screen kiss.

As the summer temperatures rise, treat yourself to this movie, 140 minutes of pure entertainment.

Rated PG-13 for language and violence.

Far and Away

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