Days of Heaven - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Days of Heaven Reviews

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½ October 27, 2015
If you are not familiar with Terrence Malick I whole-heartedly recommend that you make the time. Days of Heaven is his sophomore film after Badlands. It tells a story similar to the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Bill and Abby, played by Richard Gere and Brooke Adams are two unmarried lovers who travel to a farm in search of work in the breadbasket in 1916. To remain together while on the job they pretend to be brother and sister which work fairly well until the owner of the farm, Sam Shepard, falls in love with Abby.
This melodrama is something that typically turns me off and it would have here were it not for Malick's ability, along with DPs Nestor Almendros and Haskell Wexler, to capture one of the most beautiful mid-west films I have ever watched. Every single shot gave something special and almost unique (which is troublesome when filming in a wheat field). I can hardly recommend Days of Heaven enough.
September 25, 2015
Ennio Morricone and NÚstor Almendros. Sometimes, a story doesn't matter to me. Every single shot is beautiful.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2015
Yes every shot is beautiful, but more importantly it's an entirely immersive experience. Malick's unique style and narrative choices (gliding in and out of scenes, half heard dialogue, sporadic voice-over narration) makes the film realistic and ethereal almost simultaneously. An unforgettable experience.
August 24, 2015
"Nobody's perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you."


That's a quote taken from actress Linda Manz who narrates Terrence Malick's second feature film "Days of Heaven," which is such a remarkable and breathtaking film as all of Malick's films are as we can clearly see from beginning to end as Malick gets perfect shot after perfect shot of the beautiful nature scenes that he is so famous for doing in all of his films. The movie takes place somewhere in the Midwest outside Chicago, Illinois, where narrator and actress Linda Maze, goes on a this beautiful journey out into the Midwest with her older brother and guardian who just so happens to be a very young and magnetic looking Richard Gere and his girlfriend who is played by the very talented Brooke Adams, after Gere's character accidentally kills a fellow worker in by hitting him over the head with a shovel after a dispute between the two men in a Chicago factory. Gere's character then goes on the run with his little sister and girlfriend as all three head out into the magnificent wheat fields in the Midwest where they immediately begin work in a wheat field owned by Sam Shephard, who takes an immediate liking to Brooke Adams once he lays eyes on her. Before they arrive at the wheat field, they tell everybody aboard the train that Gere and Adams are sisters, not lovers so they do not arouse any suspicion invade they are being looked for after Gere's incident at the Chicago factory with the worker that he killed. They hustle and earn three dollars a day, which by the way I am guessing the movie takes place sometime in the early 1900's so three dollars an hour is really not that bad for a days pay back then. But things get complicated when Shepard's character begins to take a liking to Brooke Adams and asks her to stay on the wheat farm and continue working on the wheat farm after the harvest is over. Once she relays the message back to Richard Gere, he tells her to do it and possibly put on a show for him so that if he falls in love with her, all three of them can remain on the farm. The thing is though that we find out early when we meet Shepard's character that he is dying and only has a year to live. What he is dying from remains unknown, but we can assume it is probably cancer or some other type of major illness. Once Gere figures out what is happening to Shepard, he figures if he falls in love with Adams and marries her and they remain in the wheat farm, when Shepard dies, they can inherit the wheat farm. So Brooke Adams says yes to Shepard's offer on the condition that Gere and Manz stay with her on the wheat farm as she informs Shepard that Richard Gere is her brother not her lover, even Brooke Adams and Richard Gere continue romancing with each other on the side, even after Shepard marries Adams. Things go good for a while until Shepard grows suspicion that Gere and Adams are not who they say they are after seeing them touch each other sexually as he is walking along his wheat farm at night during which a belly dancer dances for them inside a little hut and then after confronting Adams about it and flat out denying it to his face, Adams begins to worry about Shepard finding out as she fears she is going to hurt him if he finds out. That's when Richard Gere realizes that Adams has fallen in love with Shepard and that this is now become a serious problem for all three of them. Even before when Shepard was warned by his over looker of the wheat farm who knows that Gere, Adams, and Manz are not who they say they are, Shepard refuses to hear it. That is until he sees from a distance on top of his farm house when Adams touches Gere on the face as if a happy together would do to one another, we then get a real close up look of Shepard back inside under the roof as we can clearly see by his expression on his face that he feels truly betrayed. This is where the last hour turns into a somewhat revenge saga as Shepard tries to attack Richard Gere during an infestation of what seems to be cicadas which vastly threaten the wheat farm after they harvest all over the wheat fields, eating everything insight. Shepard attacks Gere with a torch lamp that by accident breaks when swinging at Gere which ends up putting almost the whole farm up in flames as everyone working in the wheat field tries everything in their power to put the large flames out. Shepard then takes matters into his own hands as he gets a pistol from his room after giving Adams a hard look that he knows what is going on, and goes after Gere in which Gere ends up *SPOILER ALERT* killing Shepard in self defense with a knifing tool. Realizing now that he is in deep shit Gere quickly takes Adams and Manz and they quickly escape from the wheat farm before anybody finds out that Shepard has been killed. Once discovered by the over looker that made it clear to Richard Gere that he knows what he's up to and that Shepard is like a son to him, it then becomes a manhunt to track and kill Richard Gere in the last half hour of the film. The movie is absolutely filled with great Terrence Malick magic of nature as I said before that will definitely suck in all die hard Malick fans as Malick truly is in my opinion a director from God himself, as he truly is a gifted visualizer of movies. "Days of Heaven" definitely deserves to be in the top 100 best movies ever made as for that time in the late 1970's to capture what Malick had captured in this movie I can only imagine must have been staggering to watch at that time. The man has a true gift for both animals and nature, which definitely brings up the conclusion that Terrence Malick will go down in history as one of the most gifted, compelling, and artistic directors to ever walk the face of this earth. God bless him.
August 8, 2015
Breathtaking cinematography and scenography flooded in Ennio Morricone music.
½ August 2, 2015
Painfully boring and tedious.
½ July 20, 2015
While boasting poetic, vast rural landscape of America, Days of Heaven does not have strong or gripping narrative to balance. It ends up being an ephemeral, fleeting slice of life: poignant and beautiful but not necessarily having a lasting strong impression.
July 9, 2015
A masterpiece of mood and cinematography. Brilliantly evocative and mesmerizing. Astoundingly beautiful to behold. Linda Manz's dreamlike narration puts you in a trance! One of my Top-10 All-Time Favorite Films...!
July 4, 2015
It would be close to 5 years before Terrence Malick would follow up his groundbreaking and unforgettable, Badlands.

Days of Heaven presents a more mature vision, but an evolving perspective on reality that retains grounding through the insightful but limited perspective of a child's musings of a past that seems to have either immediately occurred or happened not too long ago.

The tone and plot of Days of Heaven is quite different in respect to Badlands. Yet there is stream of cinematic thought that connects both films.

Where Badlands was an almost detached view of reality, Days of Heaven takes the form of a cinematic poem connected to the characters by a child whose life has required her to adapt a slightly skewed version of an adult.

While it never quite soars to the level of Badlands -- it clearly soars to what Malick intended. This would be the last time Malick approached humanity from what I would term a "human emotional" perspective. Malick's style would and continues to sprout further into the realm of the experimental with aspects of "nature" and even "metaphysical" replacing the less challenging perspectives presented here and in Badlands.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. But Malick's cinematic perspective no longer blend easily with Humanity, Surrealism or Experimental Film. After this movie Malick's films have become polarizing. How an individual manages to access understanding and connection to his work has now become more radical.

From my perspective this is sad. He has never managed to capture humanity as simply as he did with his second and third movies.

It is interesting to me that Lynda Manz's character delivered one narrative line that I so seared into my then 11 year old mind that I can still recite it easily today:

"I was hopin' things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine." ...and the meanings/powers of the line have changed over the span of my life.
½ June 30, 2015
Beautiful cinematography, score, editing, setting, and themes.
However, the story never really seems to become much of anything.
The beginning is horribly rushed and the great meaning is somewhat blunted by the film's lack of involving storytelling and mostly simple plot.
This could have been so much more.
Days of Heaven is a beautifully made film, but not a beautifully written one.
7.5/10 (B)
April 30, 2015
My full opinion: I wouldn't say that this film got to me all the way through, but the story is good, Ennio Morricone's music is beautiful, and the cinematography by Nestor Almendros is really breathtaking, which i'm glad that it won an Oscar for that. 8.2/10
March 23, 2015
Sublime poetry riding the new american cinema. Malick is letting the pictures talk in total universal scale. A love triangle kneeling into the arms of the earth. Sensual cinematic and spiritual story huzzling into the endless wound of love. Unsettling distraction of the unknown psyche, tormenting the vermin.
March 3, 2015
I guess I needed to watch this when it was new and had this movie to compare to others at the time. It's slow and there isn't a lot going on that would compel me to get attached to any of the characters. I found myself getting annoyed with the way it was filmed- I would have rather had more substance and dialogue with the the character building instead of all of the cut aways to birds and other random field creatures. Should I feel more sorry for the birds that died in this film? They had as much screen time as some of the actors and it felt like I was watching Nat Geo at times. Without the really odd narrative from the girl there wouldn't have been any cohesive movie at all. I'll stick with Gone With the Wind.
March 2, 2015
As with all Malick films, "Days of Heaven" contains gorgeous visuals, existential musings, commentary on American life, etc.The story is barebones; Malick's camera hovers and zooms in unexpected ways, allowing the viewer to remain an objective observer experiencing human interactions in lovely, nuanced ways. If you're willing to engage with what he gives you, its a wonderfully rewarding piece of work.
February 21, 2015
Although this was my first watch of the classic Malick film I was captured by the sheer beauty of the visuals and ebb and flow of the plot. Although it was a slow pace film and seems at first glance more tradition, Days of Heaven is riveting film filled of subdued but nuanced passion and emotion. Look forward to watching this again and digging deeper into this film.
½ February 7, 2015
best photography ever or in the top 5 of all times
½ February 4, 2015
Terrence Malick followed his debut film with this beautiful film (visually speaking) about a man who flees Chicago after accidentally murdering a man, and take his girlfriend and sister along with him. To avoid gossip, I guess, he tells people his girlfriend is his sister, and this causes a series of unfortunate events to unfold, including her marrying the farmer they come to work for (believing he doesn't have long to live and they could inherit his farm). The film is short on story really...it has a simple straightforward plot, but the cinematography is gorgeous and every frame looks excellent.
February 2, 2015
A visually stunning epic of passion and desire.
January 30, 2015
You could hang almost any shot of this movie on a wall and call it art. Full review later.
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