The Mosquito Coast


The Mosquito Coast

Critics Consensus

Harrison Ford capably tackles a tough, unlikable role, producing a fascinating and strange character study.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,234
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Movie Info

Even a stellar performance by Harrison Ford as Allie Fox, an increasingly unbalanced inventor and crusader cannot make up for the downward slide at the end of this drama or for the need to probe a little further into the characters of Fox's son Charlie (River Phoenix) and his wife (Helen Mirren). After Fox's invention of an ice-making machine that runs without electricity is snubbed by the commercial world, he takes action on his disenchantment with materialistic, consumer-oriented American culture, sells his home, and moves to a fictional Caribbean island with his family. There he exhorts everyone to live off what nature provides and starts to set up his concept of an ideal environment. In the meantime, a pesky preacher on the island, capricious Mother Nature, and his family's growing discontent with his increasing obsessions are the first signs that this idyll is anything but.


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Critic Reviews for The Mosquito Coast

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Mosquito Coast

  • Aug 27, 2012
    This was just a very, very good film. I've heard a lot about it, particularly that it didn't make a lot of money at the box office because audiences didn't want to see Harrison as a potentially-dangerous anti-hero instead of as the straight good guy people came to know and love the actor as. It's really thought-provoking, and very well-shot. Peter Weir is a director whom I admire a lot and had earlier worked with Ford on "Witness", and would go on to direct films such as 'The Truman Show' and 'Master and Commander'. In this film, Ford plays a radical, somewhat crazy inventor who is tired of what he perceives as overly-commercialised, lazy American culture and uproots his entire family, including his wife (Helen Mirren) and oldest son (River Phoenix) to a remote jungle location along the Mosquito Coast of the title. There, he sets up his own town, building "civillisation" from scratch, but his extreme ideals push him to the edge and endanger his family, and he becomes blinded by his vision, ironic as that sounds. This film proves Ford has range, he plays a wild-eyed, unstable man very well and all the while you still have a shred of sympathy for him even as he pushes the limit of what's acceptable for a father to do to his family over and over again. The location filming in Belize is gorgeous and you truly get a sense that you're off the beaten track and far from the known world, as it seems. It's also one of the last film appearances of Butterfly McQueen aka Prissy from 'Gone With the Wind'. I was watching the film with my mother and she said "hey, that sounds like the silly girl from Gone with the Wind" - and it was the same actress! Helen Mirren was great as usual as the hapless (and actually nameless) wife, pulled along for the insane adventure and loyal to her husband to a fault. River Phoenix's performance was also stunning and it is a huge, huge pity that he passed away so early on; he could have had a very luminous career as he clearly was a talented actor.
    Jedd Y Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2012
    I'll give Ford credit for playing such a thoroughly unlikable character so well, but the film is a mess. Weir can't decide what the central conflict is supposed to be and the family is so passive through most of the story that by the time they do stand up to Ford it doesn't make any sense. By the half way point I just started thinking about early Herzog films (specifically "Fitzcarraldo", "Aguirre: The Wrath of God", and "Heart of Glass") and how much better they deal with extreme obsession.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2011
    The Mosquito Coast is an underated movie that I never heard of until it came on 1 of the movie channel's, I got to watch it & I was hooked from the start.I read a couple reviews saying this is Harrison Ford's best or most interesting peformance.I'm not a fan of Ford's at all but it's true.I think this is 1 of the very few roles of his that I didn't find boring & actually liked.A VERY good movie that makes me want to go out & read the book
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2011
    Harrison Ford, disillusioned with the banalities and commercialisms of everyday American life, drags his family into the jungle to some back-to -basics living. The story is excellent - you can tell it's based on a novel - and Ford brings completely to life a character both alluring and downright impossible "Charlie, your father is the worst kind of pain in the neck. A know-it-all who's sometimes right .I've come to see he's a dangerous man. You tell him that." .
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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