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Despite fine performances from Ellen Burstyn and newcomer Christine Horne, The Stone Angel fails to escape formulaic melodrama territory.
All Critics (25)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (14)
| DVD (2)
A tastefully reverent, fundamentally sincere treatment of Margaret Laurence's 1964 Manitoba-based novel, a staple for Canada's 12th graders.
Left me feeling respectfully indifferent, as if I'd been served a nutritious meal that was only fleetingly satisfying.
The only way to enjoy Kari Skogland's epic portrait of a miserable 90-year- woman named Hagar (Ellen Burstyn) is to reframe it as Scary Movie for weepies.
Despite a terrific lead performance by Ellen Burstyn, Kari Skogland's epic The Stone Angel is a lesson in the perils of trying to cram a hefty Canadian novel that spans decades into a movie running just under two hours.
Writer-director Kari Skogland adapts a beloved Canadian novel gracefully and with plenty of spunk, the same way its main character moves through the world from cradle to grave.
Although talented newcomer Christine Horne is ideal as the younger Hagar, letting Burstyn play the character at around 50, despite best-effort lighting, was not the wisest choice.
Miss Burstyn is the Oscar winner, and Juno star Ellen Page is getting billing beyond her screen time as the girlfriend of one of Hagar's sons, but it's newcomer Miss Horne's performance that gives the movie its soul.
For my taste, everything about The Stone Angel is too nailed-down and on-the-nose.
Watching The Stone Angel is not a chore. And the ending is pure, classy melodrama-it's totally overblown, and nothing less than satisfying.
Too much story, too little time
A perfectly respectable, solidly-made film which, beyond the expert performance by the always reliable Ellen Burstyn, has unfortunately little to recommend it.
Far less would have been much more, though the geriatric protagonist's salty sexual wit and impulse to share a joint with a passing stranger, spice up the often dreary chronological procession of family episodes.
CAST: Ellen Burstyn, Christine Horne, Cole Hauser, Dylan Baker, Ellen Page, Kevin Zegers
DIRECTED BY: Kari Skogland
SUMMARY: Rather than succumbing to life in a nursing home, feisty Hagar Shipley (Ellen Burstyn) goes on the run. As she struggles to keep her mind clear, Hagar relives passionate moments from early in her life and reflects on the many difficult experiences she's faced.
MY THOUGHTS: " This movie was sad, touching, and brillantly acted by all the characters. It's a storytelling movie and it really puts you in that place at that moment. The story goes back and forth from the present to the past. At the cottage house, she reminisces in flashbacks about all the relationships, loves, and experiences she's had in her long life. This movie is mainly about life and its about the ups-and-downs that we face, but overall, we conquer. Just a great film. Ellen Burstyn and Christine Home are the stars in this movie and out shine everyone else. But I believe their meant too. I guess the only disappointment in watching this movie is how small the roles Ellen Page and Kevin Zegers have in the film. But when they were on screen they were great. It's a good movie that might even draw a few tears from you. Its well worth the watch."
In "The Stone Angel," Hagar(Ellen Burstyn) is being pressured by her son Marvin(Dylan Baker) and daughter-in-law Doris(Sheila McCarthy) to move into a nursing home, to which she is fiercely resisting. At the same time, she senses the futility of her fight as she feels her body and mind beginning to betray her. So, Hagar sneaks out of the house and travels back to her old hometown before it is too late.
As a young woman(Christine Horne), Hagar wants to be a teacher but her wealthy father(Peter MacNeill) keeps her in town in a creepy arrangement to do the accounting and controls who she can see. That only works when he is at home and Hagar attends a dance while he is on the road, meeting the roguish Bram(Cole Hauser).
Despite a nice example of stunt casting and an excellent performance from Ellen Burstyn, "The Stone Angel" has more than a hint of "A Trip to Bountiful" but with a sluggish pace, going on far too long with a cliched revelation in a vain attempt to neatly fit together all of the pieces of Hagar's past. Even then, one fairly big question remains. And it is hard to reconcile the repressed middle-aged Hagar with the profane old Hagar. The movie should have been more focused on Hagar's present and issues surrounding senior citizens while giving a more fractured view of her past which would better simulate the fading state of her mind. In recalling the past, Hagar has a way of staying on the negative side of the equation. The lack of nostalgia is refreshing, separating romance from relationships. Since marriage is hard, it is best to be very, very sure of what you are doing.
REALLY good acting and decent script. I lasted until the end out of curiousity but the story was kind of thrown together and I didn't really understand the purpose. WARNING SPOILER: I guess the message was that despite her troubled past and everyone in her life that died, Hagar found peace with God on her death bed. I wish it explained more WHY she found peace...
A powerful performance by Ellen Burstyn as a woman (Hagar) at the end of her life, remembering the events that shaped it. Christine Horn plays the younger Hagar and one sees the elder in the younger woman. Great casting call. A story about love, and lust, and choices, and family pride, and hard-headedness. Ellen Page is only seen briefly, but she has an undeniable on-screen presence. The story itself is intense, but there are several lighter moments that keep it from imploding. Hard to feel sympathy for Hagar, as her life was defined by her choices, but she does not ask for sympathy. Respect is enough for Hagar, and that she has earned from this viewer.
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