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Off the Map (2003)

Cast: Joan Allen, Joan Allen, Valentina D'Angelis, more...
Director: Campbell Scott, Campbell Scott
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Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Dysfunctional Families
Running Time: 110 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Campbell Scott directed this offbeat comedy drama about a free-thinking family who find themselves confronted by the more regimented outside world. Bo Groden (Valentina d'Angelis) is an 11-year-old girl growing up as part of a decidedly eccentric family in a small town in New Mexico. Bo's father, Charley (Sam Elliott), has fallen into a deep depression for reasons no one can understand, while her mother, Arlene (Joan Allen), holds the household together, raising most of their food in her vegetable garden, which she prefers to tend in the nude. Bo, meanwhile, satisfies her sweet tooth by writing candy companies claiming to have had problems with their products, which usually results in a box of fresh goodies. While the Grodens get by through living within simple means, one day an Internal Revenue Agent appears at their door, wanting to know why the family hasn't paid income tax for several years -- and not believing there has been no appreciable income for so many years. Off the Map was screened in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Art & Life (and Depression) by talltale August 17, 2005 - 8:39 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Approaching the miraculous in its very quiet way, OFF THE MAP is one of those movies that consistently threatens to get precious. If anyone's sensibility should be able to keep it on track, however, it's that of actor/director Campbell Scott ("Hamlet," "Roger Dodger," "The Secret Lives of Dentists," "Final," "Big Night"). Sure enough, he (along with his troupe of simply wonderful actors) makes every moment real and revelatory.

Why were critics--the L.A. Times and N.Y. Times, in particular--so dismissive? I suspect the movie just wasn't fast or cynical enough for this crappy era. Combining art and life (and how the two can entwine and enrich us), the film holds its audience in a gentle embrace and never lets us go. Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, J.K. Simmons, Valentina de Angelis and Jim True-Frost are all wonderful, and screenwriter Joan Ackermann offers dialog to match. Interestingly, Scott and Ackermann have opened out the movie so close to perfectly that you'd never guess it was based upon a play.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.55)
22 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2003
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.

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