A frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) persuades a claim jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) to assist her in escorting three insane women to a safe haven in Iowa.
Yet again, I threw caution to the wind when watching this film. I really don’t tend to watch a great deal of Westerns in comparison to other genres but its always worth watching all the same.
The film does a brilliant job of dropping you right into the grimy dusty world of a frontier town, while also making you feel sorry for the ‘insane’ women, who are more often than not driven mad by their difficult and stifling existences. I think this film is trying to make a backhanded statement about the roles that women have within society, however I feel getting too deep into that side of things may prevent me from enjoying the film on its merits alone.
Hilary Swank is good as her character, Mary Bee Cuddy, who has to assume a more masculine position in order to succeed but at the cost of her own personal happiness because she still longs for a spouse, despite being prosperous on her own with land and fortune. Of course, there are some scenes which are difficult to watch but the film doesn’t suffer for this. While it might not be to everyone’s tastes, the film is still good for what it offers the viewer. It was also good to see Meryl Streep in a small role near the end of the film, but then again she shines no matter what.
However, interestingly, any potentially tragic moments within the film itself are dealt with a detached realism, as if in admission that life goes on and is not fair to those who cannot survive life’s hardships.
MY RATING: **** / *****