Off the Map (2003)
Critic Consensus: Excellent performances mark this leisurely paced film.
Bo is a young girl, living in rural New Mexico, who yearns to feel a connection to the world she perceives as beginning outside the lines of her tiny town. Her father is depressed; her mother is the archetype of an earth mother. Bo meanwhile writes to various snack-cake manufacturers describing the ailments their products have given her and requesting replacements. But the family grows its own food and has a stockpile of firewood that will last years. That sets the stage for the visit from the IRS, sent to see why the family hasn't filed any income taxes. … More
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as Bo Groden
as Bo (as a girl)
as William Gibbs
as Bo (as an adult)
as Store Clerk
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Critic Reviews for Off the Map
Quiet and quirky, yet refreshingly unpretentious, Off the Map is a welcome sojourn in a place that seems strange, yet entirely familiar.
A journey into an austere land of moviemaking where few artists dare go.
It's so focused on the subject that the downer mood becomes distressingly contagious.
Surprisingly enjoyable and insightful, full of hope and generosity, with characters and a story that not only satisfy but also shed light in various directions.
It's supposed to invite you in, and it does, with eccentric characters, soft stories and a sense of spare solidity that feels more true than precious.
Audience Reviews for Off the Map
Sort of a Zen meditation about the accident that leads us to decide to discover what life is all about, that needs to discover in fact. Sometimes the writing and presentation is awkward but it comes off like well meaning, teenager-in-love awkwardness and, because of that, bearable. Beautiful New Mexico desert scenery dominates. Very approachable.
Ok, so the concept behind this movie is maybe better than the movie itself, and the precociousness of Valentina De Angelis's character might be just a bit too much, but other than that, I don't really have any complaints about this movie. It has a good story, interesting characters, good performances and really nice cinematography. It's a smaller, quieter, indie film, and I'm really happy about that. I can't see this film being better otherwise. This movie makes me want to live in New Mexico. I already want to anyway, but this makes me want to even more.
[font=Century Gothic]In "Off the Map", Bo(Valentina de Angelis) is a precocious 12-year old being home schooled by her hippie parents, Arlene(Joan Allen) and Charley(Sam Elliott), who are living the life of Henry David Thoreau on a self-sustaining homestead in New Mexico.(The household income is only $5,000 per year.) In her spare time, Bo goes hunting, extorts samples from companies and is working on a credit card application. The main crisis in their household is Charley's deep depression.(My guess is that the film takes place in November 1980, shortly after the election of Ronald Reagan, an event that darkened a lot of lives.) The family income is low enough not to require them to pay income taxes, but they have not been filing the requisite forms, thus bringing them to the attention of the IRS. An auditor, William Gibbs(Jim True-Frost), arrives just as Arlene is weeding her garden in the nude...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Off the Map" strives to be an eccentric coming-of-age story but it is listless and too earnest for its own good. The only jolt of energy comes from the arrival of an IRS auditor, never a good sign. The movie cannot escape its theatrical roots, even with beautiful location shooting. I do admire the family and how they live but the film wrongly avoids any discussion of politics. The reason many people keep their earnings down to avoid paying income taxes is so they do not support the American military. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]J.K. Simmons and Sam Elliott give performances so low-key that they are practically somnabulant.(I do not know if there is a way to portray depression accurately onscreen, but this is certainly not it.) Amazingly, Joan Allen hardly registers at all. At least, Valentina de Angelis, can be relied on to rescue the movie from the doldrums.[/font]
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