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Sweet Land (2007)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 61 | Rotten: 11

Finding the right balance between subtle and sentimental, Sweet Land moves beyond other similarly-themed dramas with evocative cinematography that plays an equal role to the talented cast.


Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 3

Finding the right balance between subtle and sentimental, Sweet Land moves beyond other similarly-themed dramas with evocative cinematography that plays an equal role to the talented cast.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 6,500

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Movie Info

A European exile finds herself a stranger in a strange land when she comes to the United States in this independent romantic comedy-drama. As a man ponders what to do with his family's estate after the death of his grandmother, he thinks back to how she first came to America shortly after World War I. Olaf (Tim Guinee) is a Norwegian-American farmer looking for a wife to share his home on the Minnesota prairie, and with eligible women in short supply locally, he sends away for a mail-order


Art House & International, Drama

Jul 10, 2007


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All Critics (75) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (11) | DVD (10)

Echoing Malick's 'Days of Heaven' in the way it captures the majesty of the American countryside, this is a small gem that's worth seeking out.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film of uncommon grace, one that transports you to an America that seems innately familiar even though you have never seen it depicted on-screen quite like this before.

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As opposed to the bulk of low-budget films, the look here is lush and beautifully crafted; even the make-up is excellent.

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Terrific acting, a perfectly captured period setting, and a simple, aching farm courtship, that's all Sweet Land is.

January 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sweet and low-key, Sweet Land is a movie that likely will leave you wishing you liked it more.

January 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Director Ali] Selim grounds the story so firmly in its characters that he never hits a false note.

December 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ali Selim's visual masterpiece recalls the stark artistry of Terrence Malick and Western lyricism of Larry McMurtry, as it turns every frame into a picture postcard of stunning beauty.

May 25, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Exceptionally photographed and remarkably performed by actors Tim Guinee and Elizabeth Reaser, Sweet Land is modest, but demonstrative, eager to detail a love story that sustains for a lifetime.

December 28, 2009 Full Review Source:

At once epic and intimate, Sweet Land offers a stirring account of love and hardship which, aside from a muffed Capra moment towards the end, hardly puts a foot wrong.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

Nostalgic, gentle, loving: the elegiac mood set against endless rural space inevitably suggests Malick's Days of Heaven. What next from this considerable talent?

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Our movie of the week - which isn't saying much - arrives in the shape of this atmospheric slice of Americana about an arranged marriage deep in the heart of rural Minnesota.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Pleasant surprise of the week, a US indie so unashamedly romantic about pie, cornfields, family and baseball you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a Presidential campaign video.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Here is a nicely photographed, but bland, insipid and weirdly passive-aggressive little film.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Minnesota between the wars is a bone yard for dreams, yet, like Babette's Feast, the film plucks a tiny miracle from stony ground.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Sweet Land could have been mawkish and overly sentimental, but Selim has a light touch and the film is intelligent, sensitive and sweet.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

The son of an Egyptian immigrant, the Minnesota born Selim demonstrates a startling intimacy and empathy for his characters, but infuses his story with a candid tough love for their weaknesses.

July 3, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

Characters' motivations and behaviours wobble all over the map - even within single scenes - making for a profoundly frustrating and disappointing experience for viewers.

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

It's not a film to watch when you're tired.

June 23, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Sweet Land isn't so silly as to say 'love conquers all', but it reminds us, sometimes ecstatically, that love can conquer a lot.

June 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

An old-fashioned family drama masquerading as an art film.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

a gentle, well-observed drama... old-fashioned but in a good sense. ...Reaser and Guinee are such open, animated actors that Inge and Olaf's emotions are easily understandable even if their words are not.

March 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A torturously slow meditation on the tribulations of immigrant farmers that strains for an elegiac tone.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The low budget hasn't prevented the filmmakers from taking care with details. The film's almost palpable: You feel the coldness of the blue, forbidding sky and smell the bristling dustiness of the harvest-ready wheat.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Selim erases the cultural barrier between the eras and makes Olaf and Inge's tentative, forbidden romance seem as beautiful and as tender, and as urgent, as anything that might happen in the present day.

February 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Audience Reviews for Sweet Land

Worth seeking out, this bare tale of a German immigrant's attempt at assimulation in a wartime Minnesota suspicious of any foreigners is steady and sure, and beautiful throughout, not rushing to its long telegraphed conclusion.
May 31, 2013

Super Reviewer

What a nice movie! This is a perfect example of the kind of movie that I am always searching for. One of those little gems that I can curl up on the couch and let myself be carried away by. I just loved everything about it. I originally found it by searching for movies that Elizabeth Reaser was in. I really like the roles she chooses. I am so happy that I stumbled across this wonderful movie.
October 14, 2010

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Sweet Land," Inge(Elizabeth Reaser) arrives in Minnesota in 1920 from Europe with a suitcase and a phonograph, hardly speaking any English. After a long wait at the train station, her fiance, Olaf(Tim Guinee), and his friend, Frandsen(Alan Cumming), pick her up but at the church, the minister(John Heard) is shocked to hear that Inge is German, refusing to marry them.(There being a great deal of anti-German prejudice in the wake of World War I and her membership in the Socialist Party does not help.) Frandsen's wife's(Alex Kingston) cousin(Ned Beatty), a banker, cannot help and the local official says that only proper documentation will suffice.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Sweet Land" is a charming and luminous movie with a good cast but sadly the climax is both predictable and contrived. The movie's structure is rather intriguing as its framing sequence is set in not one time period, but two; the 1960's where Inge's husband has died and the present day where Inge's grandson, Lars, now middle-aged considers selling the family land. These two settings set up the major themes of the movie, love and the importance of land, perfectly.(A common refrain is "farming and banking don't go together.") This is love not just in a romantic sense but for all of humanity and all nationalities.(At one point in the past, everybody in this country had an ancestor who came here from somewhere else.) The main setting, the 1920's, is an age of progress(which sadly does not include birth control) for the farmers but also one of economic turbulence. [/font]
January 26, 2008
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Inge Ottenberg: Let us hope that we are all preceded in this world by a love story.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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