Sweet Land (2006)



Critic Consensus: Finding the right balance between subtle and sentimental, Sweet Land moves beyond other similarly-themed dramas with evocative cinematography that plays an equal role to the talented cast.

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A European exile finds herself a stranger in a strange land when she comes to the United States in this independent romantic comedy-drama. As a man ponders what to do with his family's estate after the death of his grandmother, he thinks back to how she first came to America shortly after World War I. Olaf (Tim Guinee) is a Norwegian-American farmer looking for a wife to share his home on the Minnesota prairie, and with eligible women in short supply locally, he sends away for a mail-order bride. Inge Ottenberg (Elizabeth Reaser) soon arrives at Olaf's doorstep, but while she's pretty, smart, and amiable, he's taken aback to discover she's not Norwegian but German, which after several years of anti-German propaganda does not make her popular with her new neighbors. Inge isn't very good with English, making it even harder to keep her background a secret, and the local pastor, Rev. Sorrensen (John Heard), is so outraged at the presence of a presumed Hun he refuses to perform their wedding. But Inge struggles to make friends with her new neighbors, in particular Olaf's best friend, Frandsen (Alan Cumming), a gadget fancier whose wife, Brownie (Alex Kingston), is better with mechanical items than he is. In time, Inge's cheerful nature and love of music begin to make an impression on the community as she shares her favorite tunes on her ever-present gramophone. Sweet Land was the first feature film from writer and director Ali Selim. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
PG (for brief, partial nudity and mild language)
Art House & International , Drama
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Elizabeth Reaser
as Inge Altenberg
Tim Guinee
as Olaf Torvik
Alan Cumming
as Frandsen
John Heard
as Minister Sorrensen
Alex Kingston
as Brownie
Ned Beatty
as Harmo
Tom Gilroy
as Karl Vik
Patrick Heusinger
as Young Lars
Stephen Pelinksi
as Older Lars
Stephen Pelinski
as older Lars
Paul Sand
as older Frandsen
Sage Kermes
as Mae Torvik
Karen Landry
as Rose Torvik
Lois Smith
as older Inge
Robert Hogan
as older Olaf
James Cada
as Minister Thorwald
Charlotta Mohlin
as Else Jorgensdatter
Stephen D'Ambrose
as Clerk of Court
Patrick Coyle
as Martin
Raye Birk
as Postal Clerk
Jodie Markell
as Donna Torvik
Stephen Yoakam
as Einar Torvik
James R. Bakkom
as Station Master
Tony Pappenfuss
as Gentleman Bidder
Wayne A. Evenson
as Judge Sundby
Dick Reignier
as LaMotte
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News & Interviews for Sweet Land

Critic Reviews for Sweet Land

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (25)

Echoing Malick's 'Days of Heaven' in the way it captures the majesty of the American countryside, this is a small gem that's worth seeking out.

Full Review… | September 4, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

A film of uncommon grace, one that transports you to an America that seems innately familiar even though you have never seen it depicted on-screen quite like this before.

February 2, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

As opposed to the bulk of low-budget films, the look here is lush and beautifully crafted; even the make-up is excellent.

Full Review… | February 2, 2007
Detroit News
Top Critic

Terrific acting, a perfectly captured period setting, and a simple, aching farm courtship, that's all Sweet Land is.

January 26, 2007
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Sweet and low-key, Sweet Land is a movie that likely will leave you wishing you liked it more.

January 18, 2007
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

[Director Ali] Selim grounds the story so firmly in its characters that he never hits a false note.

December 22, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sweet Land


Worth seeking out, this bare tale of a German immigrant's attempt at assimulation in a wartime Minnesota suspicious of any foreigners is steady and sure, and beautiful throughout, not rushing to its long telegraphed conclusion.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


What a nice movie! This is a perfect example of the kind of movie that I am always searching for. One of those little gems that I can curl up on the couch and let myself be carried away by. I just loved everything about it. I originally found it by searching for movies that Elizabeth Reaser was in. I really like the roles she chooses. I am so happy that I stumbled across this wonderful movie.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Really good movie.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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