Rails & Ties


Rails & Ties

Critics Consensus

Despite the strong cast, Rails & Ties is an emotionally overwrought, not entirely believable melodrama.



Reviews Counted: 47

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,100


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, and Miles Heizer star in director Alison Eastwood's tale of two families locked into an emotional -- and physical -- collision course. There once was a time when Tom and Megan Stark had all the time in the world to take their dream vacation and start a family, but these days the couple's marriage is suffering and their time appears to be running short. Megan has been diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, and when the prospect of losing his wife becomes too much to bear, railroad engineer Tom seeks escape in his work. On the tracks Tom is in control; all the routes are predetermined and he knows he'll eventually arrive at his destination. But sometimes even the most predictable events can go suddenly awry, and when Tom's train hits a car that was parked on the tracks by a suicidal mother, his life is plunged into ruin. While there was no way that Tom could have possibly stopped the train on time, the grieving conductor's woes are suddenly compounded upon realizing that he may lose his job because of the accident. Not only that, but the deceased woman's son, Davey, is consumed by the guilt that he could do nothing to prevent the accident, and he now places the blame for his mother's death squarely on Tom. But not all sad stories have to end in tragedy, and perhaps in the aftermath of this fateful accident Megan could receive a second chance at fulfilling her dreams, Tom could learn to open his heart before he is consumed by bitterness, and Davey could finally learn the true meaning of family.

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Kevin Bacon
as Tom Stark
Marcia Gay Harden
as Megan Stark
Miles Heizer
as Davey Danner
Eugene Byrd
as Otis Higgs
Bonnie Root
as Laura Danner
Steve Eastin
as N.B. Garcia
Laura Cerón
as Susan Garcia
Margo Martindale
as Judy Neasy
Kathryn Joosten
as Mrs. Brown
Steven M. Porter
as Howie Pugh
Jim Cody Williams
as Vince the Engineer
Robert Harvey
as Administrator #1
Michael Otis
as Administrator #2
Ernest Harden Jr.
as Official #1
Mike McCaul
as Official #2
Michael Raynor
as Detective Christian Fox
Micky Levy
as Detective Ann Crane
John Nielsen
as Dr. Offenberger
Dennis Napolitano
as Piano Teacher
Mary Beth McDade
as News Reporter
Brian Bogulski
as Workman #1
Jade Marx
as Nurse #1
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Critic Reviews for Rails & Ties

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (23)

  • It's hard to get over the implausibility of the premise in Micky Levy's script, even though the characters themselves acknowledge that they're in a ridiculous situation.

    Jan 2, 2008
  • There's just not much here to recommend at all.

    Nov 12, 2007
  • One highly unlikely circumstance after another become laughable, preventing you from being moved by the family tragedies depicted. They beg for tears, but a script this chock-full of holes is unlikely to elicit the desired effect.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • I think somehow the filmmakers lost the way, lost sight of the people inside the plot.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • All the astute acting in the world can't bring such a preposterous story into the station on time and intact.

    Nov 8, 2007 | Rating: 2/4
  • While it features three strong performance and the debut of a promising filmmaker, the story line is obvious and rather melodramatic.

    Oct 26, 2007 | Rating: 2/4

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Rails & Ties


Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer


Kevin Bacon is Tom and Marcia Gay Harden is Megan - a couple who are having difficulties with their marriage. Not only that, but Megan has cancer. Tom withdraws into his work - as a railroad engineer, but even that is messed up when he crashes his train into a car parked on a crossing - killing a suicidal mother. When the 11 year-old son of that suicidal mother comes to Tom's house to accuse him of killing his mom, Megan sort-of adopts him - and perhaps all three of them can begin to heal.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Rails and Ties," Tom(Kevin Bacon), a train engineer, is advised to take some time off to care for his wife Megan(Marcia Gay Harden) who is dying of breast cancer. He refuses, trying to bury himself in his work. But that decision is taken out of his hands when Laura(Bonnie Root) drives her car onto the tracks in front of his train. Tom goes by the book and slows down, not hitting the emergency brake which could cause a derailment. Luckily, her 11-year old son David(Miles Heizer) escapes unscathed before the car is totaled, killing his mother. After the crash, Tom is suspended, pending a hearing and investigation. When he gets home, Megan shows interest in learning how to play the piano and visiting San Francisco, one of the stops on his route(more or less). Meanwhile, David runs away from his foster mother(Margo Martindale).[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]While stretching credibility to the breaking point, "Rails and Ties" still manages to be worthwhile due to its raw intensity and honesty in exploring mortality which can make us see how precious the little things in life really are.(At least, it does not put train travel into the mortality equation.) And excellent performances from Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden certainly help. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Alison Eastwod hits a double in her directorial debut. Alison was great in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Here, she shows that she has strong potential to be a good director, just like her dad, Clint. Her editing and directing style seems similar to her dad's style. Bacon, Harden, and Heizer's performances make the film worth watching. On the negative, I didn't like how Alison used the fade out transition throughout the film. The pacing of the film is also off and some scenes were too slow.

Sol C
Sol C

Super Reviewer

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