The Rising Place (2002)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A woman learns a valuable lesson about her family as she and her aunt look back at her troubled past in this independent drama. As Virginia Wilder (Frances Fisher) visits her elderly Aunt Millie (Alice Drummond) for the Christmas holidays, she discovers a number of letters she received during the 1940s, and gains a new and clearer picture of Millie's life when she was younger. Teenaged Emily (Laurel Holloman) falls in love with a soldier who soon ships out to fight in World War II, but not before she discovers herself pregnant. When the soldier refuses to marry her, Emily is left to have the baby on her own, and soon she discovers herself an outcast in the small Southern town where she was born. While Emily's father (Gary Cole) turns his back on her, her mother (Tess Harper) remains supportive, and Emily soon becomes close friends with two other people who haven't been welcomed by the community, a strong-willed black woman named Wilma Watson (Elise Neal) and Will Bacon (Mark Webber), a well-meaning young man with a bad habit of bending the truth. As Emily's new friends stand by her, Emily in turn stands up for them as Wilma and other members of the town's African-American community begin standing up for their rights as citizens. The first feature film from writer and director Tom Rice, The Rising Place also features Jennifer Holliday and Frances Sternhagen.
PG-13 (for elements of violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Laurel Holloman
as Emily Hodge
Elise Neal
as Wilma Watson
Mark Webber
as Will Bacon
Gary Cole
as Avery Hodge
Alice Drummond
as Older Millie Hodge
Frances Fisher
as Virginia Wilder
Liam Aiken
as Emmett Wilder
Billy Campbell
as Streete Wilder
Tess Harper
as Rebecca Hodge
Mason Gamble
as Franklin Pou
Beth Grant
as Melvina Pou
S. Epatha Merkerson
as Lessie Watson
Scott Openshaw
as Eddie Scruggs
Frances Sternhagen
as Ruth Wilder
Jackie Bateman
as Emily Hodge (age 10)
Courtney Campbell
as Wilma Watson (age 10)
Janie Story
as Young Ruth (age 8)
Jackson Walker
as Harry C. Devening
Eddie Cotton Jr.
as Walter Malone
Debra Heitman
as Mary Beth Dearing
Paul Davis
as Franklin Pou (age 8)
James Smith
as Young Private
Julia Lawshae
as Army Dance Crooner
Judy Rice
as Mrs. Moseley
Nate Bynum
as Brother Isaac
Marco St. John
as Defense Attorney
Tommy Rice
as Judge
John Maxwell
as Funeral Director
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Rising Place

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (7)

It is one more celluloid testimonial to the cruelties experienced by Southern blacks as distilled through a Caucasian perspective.

November 8, 2002
Top Critic

Looks awfully like one long tourist spot for a Mississippi that may never have existed outside of a scriptwriter's imagination.

November 8, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic

A not-so-Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with a hefty helping of Re-Fried Green Tomatoes.

November 8, 2002
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

This misty-eyed Southern nostalgia piece, in treading the line between sappy and sanguine, winds up mired in tear-drenched quicksand.

November 7, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

Rice is too pedestrian a filmmaker to bring any edge or personality to The Rising Place that would set it apart from other Deep South stories.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

However sincere it may be, The Rising Place never quite justifies its own existence.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Rising Place


An ultra-touchy-feely race-relations, civil-rights drama as imagined by theme-park organizers, with every character painted in broad strokes in a story that eagerly tugs at every available heartstring -- and rings false at every turn.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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