The Ballad of Little Jo

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69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

65%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,728
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Movie Info

After becoming pregnant outside marriage, Josephine (Suzy Amis) is thrown out by her embarrassed upper-class family. With no money, she gives up the baby and travels west, where she constantly fears for her safety against predatory men. Josephine begins to masquerade as a man named Jo, and eventually settles down in a small town where she is employed as a sheepherder for Frank Badger (Bo Hopkins). Jo hides the truth until worker Tinman Wong (David Chung) is forced to move in with her.

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Critic Reviews for The Ballad of Little Jo

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (5)

  • The film ends as more of a dirge than a ballad. But occasionally it casts a forlorn spell. The meaning of Jo Monaghan's life may not really emerge in this film but its mystery lingers.

    July 7, 2015 | Full Review…
  • This is more skillful than inspired, with an image of the early west that seems largely borrowed from McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

    July 7, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Ultimately, what makes "The Ballad of Little Jo" worthy is Amis' full-bodied performance in what may be her most challenging role to date. Always believable, Amis never makes a false move.

    March 26, 2009

    Emanuel Levy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The mud and desperation of the frontier is vividly rendered, but the film is marred by a lack of emotional drama.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Jane Bartlett

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It's not hard to view "The Ballad of Little Jo" as an allegorical critique of sex and power and men's-club values in America. In its disdain for those values, the film is as focused and cool-headed as the remarkable character whose story it tells.

    May 20, 2003
  • A feminist western from fringe filmmaker Maggie Greenwald, this intriguing if rough-hewn drama is as ruthless in its revisionism as "Unforgiven."

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Ballad of Little Jo

  • Jun 19, 2009
    This is a Suzy Amis Film, that?s the reason I watched it, and of all the films I have watched her act in, this is one of the better ones, Was going to give it 3 stars, but because of the story line I decided to go with 4. Its about a female in the Wild Wild West who when film begins is sold by a trader to two men, she escapes and decides to act and dress like a man. Now had I been there I would have thought Little Jo was a little light in his loafers, but I am sure that the real Little Jo was a little more Manley. In the end she lives with a china men who in the movie just disappears we never see what happens to him. Its an enjoyable movie to rent, not sure I would go out and buy it. 3 3/4 stars even though Flixster will not allow me to do that.
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2007
    A passable western. It seems as though every attempt to portray a woman gunslinger does not do any justice to the original inspiration. A hard find...for good reason.
    John B Super Reviewer

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