Sweet Land - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sweet Land Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2008
Really good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2008
[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]
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[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]
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2007
Very tender, moving, SWEET movie!!!
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2006
Slow, quaint, nice - and not as boring as that may imply.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2011
It really does an excellent job of drawing you into the period of the 40's heartwarming story. A very slow paced movie that takes draws you into the life of a women who to escape Germany in the 40's, agrees to marry a family acquaintance in rural Minnesota.

The whole movie rest on Elizabeth Reaser as the audience's point of access and pivotal role in the movie (and by the way she does not speak English and none of the farmers speak German including her husband-to-be). She is excellent at conveying her emotions and frustration as an intelligent woman who is trapped by her lack of effective communication and the prejudices of German Americans during WWII. Highly recommended for 3rd generations immigrants who have only heard their grandparents story.
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2008
Okay overall, but the story line moved pretty slow and jumped from present time to past too much.
½ February 28, 2014
The soundtrack was great. The last 15 minutes was good, but the rest of the movie was slow and uneffecting.
January 24, 2013
Can anybody make a sweeter movie than this? Super-clean & family-oriented, a refreshing change from the usual.. back to simpler days.
½ December 17, 2012
Chick Flick! Was bored at the beginning and enjoyed the end. So all and all not a bad flick but not a must see.
October 30, 2012
Sweet and simply gorgeous. Tim Guinee's performance as Olaf Torvik left me aching for Minnesota. He perfectly captured the immigrant farmer's stoic strength and subtle passion. Watch this. You'll be glad you did.
August 23, 2012
A beautiful, old fashioned love story and a tribute to the American immigrant experience. A German mail order bride travels to post WWI Minnesota to wed a Norwegian-American farmer, but once there, she faces anti-German prejudice from the locals. A sweet, gentle movie about love growing played out under the wide open blue skies of the Mid West.
½ January 2, 2012
Sweet Land is a movie worth connecting with. Its simple and beautiful romance entangles, while the rural setting and historical backdrop compels. It is not a perfect movie, but it is one worth warming yourself with next to the fire.
½ April 2, 2011
a poignant sugary tale about overcoming boundaries: continental, linguistic, cultural, sociopolitical, and personal. and simply staying firm and rooted into the abundant land, worked hard on by the whole (small) community. the start of the movie is really quite sweet and i only wish i understood some norwegian and german. cummings who coproduced the movie injects warm humour throughout -- vital for the slower stoic moments.
July 10, 2011
The acting was strong and the scenes shot on the farm, with the wheat fields and farm house as background, are impressive. The story didn't hold my attention the whole way through, though. Wish it was a little more compact and concise.
½ August 27, 2010
This was a really cute movie that I felt could have done a lot more to address all the very serious theme of prejudice, discrimination and immigration.
April 4, 2010
Well-intentioned Immigrant Saga fails to reach Art House Grandeur

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here's a film that aspires to be included in the ranks of European Art Films but unfortunately doesn't quite make the grade. Before we flashback to the main story, we're treated to two "flash forward" scenes: one set in the 60s when the main character, Inge, buries her husband and another scene twenty or so years later when the grandson buries Inge. Instead of getting right into the story which is set in 1920s Minnestoa, we're treated to quite a bit of slow-paced, unnecessary exposition. When we finally do get to the core of the story, where Inge (well played by Elizabeth Reaser) comes to America, we find out little about the personalities of the characters.

Most of the first half of the movie deals with Inge trying to cope with a hostile community where she barely speaks any English (it's not really explained very clearly, but Inge is a mail-order bride from Norway but she's actually German who's been living in Norway). Her husband-to-be Olaf, is a Norwegian-American who is unable to communicate with her in German (it appears that he can speak Norwegian and so can she--well at least I thought I heard her speak some Norwegian during the film) but they choose not to because the town minister insists that she only speak English. So quite unconvincingly, when they are alone, they never converse in Norwegian which would probably help her to learn English a lot faster.

Reaser does a good job at showing how difficult it is learning a new language and there are some scenes that are fairly compelling as Inge and her hard-working farmer-husband learn to love each other. But beyond that what do we find out about the characters in this film? Well there's Olaf, who's a bit of a Stoic but also a real good guy who saves his best friend's farm by bidding for it at an auction (even though he doesn't have the money!). And of course there's the minister, who is caught up in the anti-German hysteria of the day and gives Inge a real hard time. But of course, he's really not such a bad guy after all because eventually he inexplicably comes to accept her. And in fact, all the neighbors, who at first appear as though they're going to start a witch-hunt against Olaf and his potential bride, suddenly have a change of heart and actually give Olaf the cash to buy his best friend's farm which prevents the family from being evicted.

1920 Minnesota doesn't prove to be much of a bad place after all--not a bad apple amongst the suspicious neighbors who all turn out to collectively have hearts of gold. It's comfortable like a Hallmark Greeting Card but does not bode well for good drama which needs more of a sinister protagonist to keep things interesting. As we step back into 1920, we feel the author only has a superficial sense of what it was like to live back in that time. Oh yes, there's a nice attempt to recreate the look of the period with the old Model-T cars and gramophones but without in-depth characters, the film ultimately proves to be an exercise in sentimental storytelling.
January 4, 2010
Very well done. You have to see it 2 or 3 times to really appreciate all the subtle nuances. This is how a love story should go.
September 30, 2009
This is the most romantic movie I have ever seen. The characters are dynamic and believable, and the setting is simple and beautiful. Very sweet and touching.
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