Desert Bloom (1986)



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Movie Info

A nuclear bomb explodes along with a nuclear family in Eugene Carr's coming-of-age drama Desert Bloom. The film is set in the arid outskirts of Las Vegas in 1950. Thirteen-year-old Rose Chismore (Annabeth Gish) has just received her first pair of glasses and now begins to see her family and her environment much more clearly. Under the shadow of an impending atmospheric testing of an atom bomb, Rose's family frays under emotional and cultural changes. Rose's father Jack (Jon Voight) is a battle-scarred veteran of World War II who runs a gas station and drinks too much. Her mother Lily (JoBeth Williams) is a cheery housewife addicted to platitudes and gambling. Jack, lonely and depressed and drawn to his blossoming daughter, reacts to his incestuous attraction by blackening her eyes. Into this unhealthy mix comes Aunt Starr (Ellen Barkin), a glamorous and independent woman who comes to live with the family for the 42 days necessary to obtain a quickie divorce. Rose, with her luminous sensuality, begins to entice all the local wolves, along with her brother-in-law Jack.


Annabeth Gish
as Rose Chismore
Jon Voight
as Jack Chismore
JoBeth Williams
as Lily Chismore
Ellen Barkin
as Aunt Starr
Allen Garfield
as Mr. Mosol
Dusty Balcerzak
as Barbara Jo
Kysha Doty
as Spelling Bee Contestant
William Lang
as Colonel
Ann Risley
as Mrs. Muratore
Rick Scheiffer
as Mr. Brandal
Irene Goodnight
as R.C. Volunteer
Eugenia Moran
as R.C. Nurse
Armen Dirtadian
as Publicist
Al Petito
as Radio Clerk
Randy Harris
as Photographer
Chris Corr
as Delivery Boy
Fred C. Smith
as Tour Guide
Bob Gish
as Superintendent
Onna Young
as Spelling-Bee Contestant
Jesse Sloan
as Spelling-Bee Contestant
Kiysha Doty
as Spelling-Bee Contestant
Todd Barish
as Spelling-Bee Contestant
Sherry Allen
as Spelling-Bee Contestant
Doris Berman
as Woman at Spelling Bee
Judith Gish
as Spelling-Bee Moderator
Mike Stein
as Adult Party Goer
Ray LeFre
as Adult Party Goer
Tamara Cooley
as Adult Party Goer
Patty Harbor
as Adult Party Goer
Mark Jenkins
as AEC Officer
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Critic Reviews for Desert Bloom

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

Now, it's fine for a movie to be earnest, and Julio Gallo, for that matter, but it does make "Desert Bloom" rather a slog.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

This sensitive coming-of-age tale is framed by the narration of its grown-up protagonist, recalling her childhood in the 1950s, an era defined by the A-Bomb and the culture it created.

Jun 12, 2006 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Memorable little story carried by Jon Voight.

Jun 11, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

a drama that stays with you; a good companion piece with "Blue Sky"

Jul 29, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

Manages to make clear that certain children possess the resiliency to handle the stress and pain of a troubled home.

Feb 14, 2002 | Full Review…

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