Empire Falls (2005)

Empire Falls (2005)

TOMATOMETER

——

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Empire Falls Photos

Movie Info

This two-part HBO miniseries is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo. Having long since sacrificed youthful ideals and values to remain in his New England hometown for the sake of his family, middle-aged Miles Roby (Ed Harris) finds his "secure" little world disintegrating when his wife, Janine (Helen Hunt), divorces him. Equally vexing is the emotional and financial pressure exerted by domineering town matriarch Francine Whiting (Joanne Woodward), who owns (among other things) the Empire Grill, the little diner that Ed has run for several years. As he reflects on what he considers to be a wasted life, Ed flashes back to memories of his curmudgeonly father, Max (Paul Newman, who also executive-produced the miniseries); his long-dead mother, Grace (Robin Wright Penn); his scapegrace brother, David (Aidan Quinn); his blossoming daughter "Tick" (Danielle Panabaker); and Francine's late husband, C.B. Whiting (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Also tied in with Miles's reminiscences is the spectacular saga of the rise and fall of Empire Falls, a once-prosperous mill town that has fallen into disrepair -- as have the town's once-rigid and inviolate social barriers. Despite the initial bleakness of Miles' plight, and the revelation of innumerable family skeletons as the plot progresses, the story is ultimately both heartwarming and life-affirming. Filmed on location in Maine, Empire Falls originally aired on May 28 and 29, 2005.
Rating:
PG-13
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Television , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
HBO Films

Cast

William Fichtner
as Jimmy Minty
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as C.B. Whiting/Charlie Mayne
Ed Harris
as Miles Roby
Trevor Morgan
as Zack Minty
Joanne Woodward
as Francine Whiting
Robin Wright
as Grace Roby
Paul Newman
as Max Roby
Helen Hunt
as Janine Roby
Theresa Russell
as Charlene
Dennis Farina
as Walt Comeau
Aidan Quinn
as David Roby
Adam LeFevre
as Father Mark
Larry Pine
as Otto Mayer
Lou Taylor Pucci
as John Voss
Kate Burton
as Cindy Whiting
Estelle Parsons
as Bea Callahan
Carey Lowell
as Francine Whiting (age 40)
Michael Brockman
as Justice of the Peace
Stephen Mendillo
as Bill Daws
Nesbitt Blaisdell
as Father Tom
Harold Withee
as Waiter
Matt Blumm
as Miles Roby (age 20)
Adam Le Fevre
as Father Mark
Emily Wachtel
as Florida Bartender
Matthew Dixon
as Banker
Miles Chandler
as Young Miles
David Altshuler
as Building Inspector
Doree A. Austin
as Mrs. Rodrigues
Bradley J. Van Dussen
as Man on Beach
Troy Faucher
as Young Policeman
Bryant R. Garrett
as Thank You Patron
Stephen E. Hodgdon
as Strong Bagger #1
James K. Small
as Strong Bagger #2
Birdie Katz
as Frowzy Woman
Wilma Keem
as Housekeeper
Gail R. Pelotte
as DMV Clerkette
Scott Riccio
as DMV Patron
David Montgomery
as Fisherman
Dan Pleva
as Slick Man
Linda Saulter
as Secretary
Adam L. Sirois
as Secretary
Tony Takacs
as Justin
Claire Winters
as Young Cindy
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Empire Falls

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

It's better on HBO where it can play over a couple of nights and you get a chance for the story. Because if you try to compress it into a hundred-minute movie, you'd lose all the rich textures at work here.

May 24, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

[Richard] Russo adapts his own novel for the HBO mini-series, which is essentially a four-hour film spread over two parts, and the format gives him the room to let the story and its characters live and breathe.

Full Review… | June 16, 2016
Seanax.com

It collapses.

September 11, 2005
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Despite a few cliches and an overly-familiar story structure, the film is pure pleasure with wonderful characterizations, exceptionally well-shot scenes, and a richly-textured milieu of small-town dailiness to die for.

February 11, 2009
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for Empire Falls

½

It is probably not that historical, but it is interesting to see this version of the current state of small-town Maine. The mill is empty and everyone has left. All there seems to be left is a diner, a pub and a church that needs painting. This movie is chalk full of name actors, and revolves around the life of Miles Roby (Ed Harris). The actors do a great job, and the story is laid out well (although the movie is four hours long). If you like plain stories of how people interact and deal with the life's trials and tribulations, you will like this movie.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

½

By far, this is one of the best mini-series i've ever seen. It has a great cast, great story and a thematic quality to it. The idea to make the town more of a main character than any particular person is such an interesting way to go, it makes it feel like a Stephen King novel without any scary or supernatural elements to it. I feel like there was a complete story and non of the characters were not given a full treatment.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

½

This film casted the leads solely based on star power. As such, the only non-phoned-in performances were from supporting players - Penn, Burton, Parsons, Farina - and young unknowns, Pucci as John Voss, and especially Danielle Panabaker as Tick. Terrible accents all around and what was with the lame Our Town-y narration?

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Empire Falls Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Empire Falls on our Movie forum!

News & Features