The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio Reviews

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January 29, 2019
Just watched this again... one of the most amazing and healing movies. I'm moved by this. It shows what is possible when living in happiness intentionally is a committed approach. I don't understand the bad reviews... it is just so good... AND important.
March 23, 2018
This is a great story, just a pity it didnt get better reviews, maybe its telling was just too on the ground for todays hyped up action and special effects audience...
½ July 18, 2017
Men are evil and stupid. Women are wondrous creatures. An offensive and idiotic movie.
July 4, 2017
This movie is so moving and heartfelt that at some points I almost cried. I love how it started out and played. Given this movie is based on true events it is so true about life in the years it was done. I absolutely love this film with all my heart. This film reminded me of my mom and how she has done so well with all six of her kids with very little money at times. She kept her happiness for everyone just like Mrs.Ryan did. This film is a personal movement for my mom and all families that have it tough(Tuff ; )).
March 7, 2017
Another outstanding performance by Julianne Moore. A feel good triumph.
August 27, 2015
Ever noticed that Woody Harrelson is great at playing a jerk? Me too. Anyway, though this movie starts off sort of clunky, once it gets going, you're hooked. It's a great story of faithfulness and determination, even in the face of long odds.
August 13, 2015
Moore's performance makes this movie relevant but the story has it's perks too.
July 21, 2015
"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" has one of the clunkiest names but one of the most fascinating true stories. If the story of Evelyn Ryan was fictional, it would seem a bit mundane. But as soon as the words "based on a true story" appear, this becomes a heroic tale of an anything-but-mundane housewife. I expected to half-watch this film as I did work but I was immediately taken by its unique style. It feels so 50's, from the video slideshow flashback to the jingle singers mingling with the real world. The style is complimented by excellent performances by Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. Moore's layered performance expresses her disappointment with her husband while maintaining a stiff upper lip to hold her family together. Her face does not always reflect her feelings, and yet we know. Woody does the opposite with dynamic acting that brings a true sense of intimidation to his character while still breaking to show his insecurity. The most wild thing is the unconditional love of Evelyn. In most movies, she would have left Kelly or had him arrested, but in real life she was able to immediately forgive his abusive and irresponsible actions because of the hardships that he faced. She redefines the word "selfless." The expertly written script builds the tension between the two of them, first starting with an almost comical scene and then slowly revealing the seriousness as the film progresses. I was also very impressed with Ellary Porterfield as Tuff but wanted to see more of Laura Dern. Since this script is based on the memoir of Tuff Ryan, I'm sure that the characters of Kelly and Ray the Milkman are negatively exaggerated, but that is part of what makes this story so fascinating. We get to see it from the perspective of an adult reflecting on her childhood. "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" is the complete package with a family that you can root for, a constant source of conflict, and an amazing story of perseverance that is enhanced by a revealing of the successes of this family's lineage.
July 17, 2015
Loved this movie....she uses power of now princples.... Just taking each problem as it comes, enjoying the present moment, forgiving the past, not worrying for the future..she is a saint, really, what a good mom...different moral values....reminded me of gram a bit. Now this would be considered child endangerment/ abuse to stay in her marriage.
May 13, 2015
This is a very enjoyable movie about a remarkable woman and the power of forgiveness.
½ May 12, 2015
Original story, really good acting.
May 10, 2015
The few parts that were well written make up for the parts that weren't.
May 8, 2015
This was a fabulous portrayal of a genuine woman and her abusive husband in a unique main character narrative. Evelyn isn't some fifties magazine character but a real woman facing real issues with neighbors, family, a priest, and the public expecting her to live a magazine character life. The story is subtle within the dramedy but the humor doesn't destroy the pace. I really enjoyed all the the characters. From an experienced perspective of a household with domestic violence, I found this story speaking with authentic voice. Enjoyable.
½ January 28, 2015
A delightful film with wonderful performances from Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. The costumes, production design, score, hair and make up all add to the fun style of the movie. It really is a roller coaster of tone when it will be very joyful then very dark and sometimes that faulted the movie but overall it is a pure joy to watch and this would make a perfect stage play
½ October 28, 2014
A interesting story about a housewife who's family depends on her winnings.
½ September 17, 2014
While flawed, I feel that Julianne Moore truly made it worth watching.
July 16, 2014
Sweet and such a good story. Perfect for family.
½ March 6, 2014
I can't remember who recommended this movie to me but, thanks! What an amazing mother. And so smart.
August 18, 2013
This Mom is an inspiration in determination and positive thinking
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2013
After seeing this film, I knew it had to be a true story, and sure enough it was. The story of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is a terrific one, that you just couldn't make up. The book was written by one of a families ten children, about their mother and how she raised their entire family by winning sweepstakes, which were extremely popular in the 50's and 60's. The Ryan family was your typical suburban family, Kelly (Woody Harrelson) worked in a mill and spends most of his paycheck on alcohol. That leaves Evelyn (Julianna Moore) to raise 10 kids on almost no money. Evelyn was in advertising before she became a housewife and had a knack for writing slogans and jingles. As a result of her circumstances, she entered every contest she could find and surprisingly won a large number of them, despite the odds. She won the house they live in, as well as most of the appliances, and even a few cars they sold. The story was truly fantastic and a wonderful tribute to a woman, who in some ways could be considered a modern day working mother. Evelyn was played by Julianna Moore, who gives the performance of her life. Once again, an independent film is overlooked by the Academy, but had this been a major release, there is no doubt in my mind that Moore would have won the Oscar, she is really that good. A good portion of the story is focused on this extraordinary woman, but we do meet her husband and we see her kids at various ages and walks of live. It seems like a movie that could quickly fizzle out, but life is never slow or boring in the Kelly household. On a side note, the author of the book, Evelyn's oldest daughter really made a name for herself with this book and made a cameo at the end of the film. Unfortunately, her career was short lived, as she passed away shortly after the films release. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is the kind of tribute we'd all love to give our parents, but most of our parents didn't do the extraordinary things Evelyn Ryan did. It's a heartwarming story that shows no matter how bad things get, there is always a way, and that's a message we can all relate to.
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