the joyous tale of the desire to see those you love, find love
Imagine a place in which homophobia, racism and ageism do not exist. Imagine a place as this set within the beautiful National Park area of Montana. Well imagine no more - for welcome to Big Eden. And it is to Big Eden that Henry Hart, a successful but lonely gay New York artist returns to, in order to care for his ailing grandfather Sam, only to find that the object of his unrequited love, namely one Dean Stewart, is equally back in town. Question is - is Dean gay, bi or straight?
Then again, how many folk know of Henry's own sexual proclivity? Close friend Grace Cornwell does, as too does Sam, having put two and two together years ago. Unlike Widow Thayer that is, who as one who takes great pleasure in introducing friends, has made it her business to introduce Henry to all the single gals in town. Only when his reaction is not as heterosexual as what she assumed it would be, her reaction is simply to introduce Henry to the members of the local chess club - the all-male chess club that is. And somehow I have the feeling that chess is the last thing on their mind!
But then what exactly is on the mind of Pike Dexter; the highly introverted Native American owner of Dexter's General Store and a man whose maxim in life appears to be 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' Only if cooking be the food of love, then Henry hasn't noticed. Unlike the townsfolk who are going out of their way to make the two, one happy couple, before Henry decides to up sticks for a second bite at The Big Apple.
Going against the grain of many a feature of late, this big-hearted gem of a film delivers a narrative refreshingly more concerned with 'love in the country,' than 'sex in the city.' To that end, Arye Gross as Henry Hart, Eric Schweig as near-monosyllabic Pike Dexter and Tim DeKay as rival love interest Dean Stewart are splendid in their roles and yet and in as much as George Coe as Sam Hart and Louise Fletcher as Grace Cornwell provide strong support throughout, it is Nan Martin who steals the show, thanks to her
compelling portrayal of the remarkably non-judgmental Widow Thayer; a lady who simply loves to introduce friends - whatever their sexual preference be.
For some, all this may appear a little too saccharine, given Bezucha has crafted a remarkably heartwarming work, as from removed from the ingrained homophobia of Brokeback Mountain as you can get. For here we are greeted with the joyous tale of a rural community united in its desire to see those they love, find love - regardless of sexual orientation, race or age. Only if such be representative of a community that does not exist; then surely it should be more indicative of one that should. It remains a pure delight.
available on DVD as part of the Ilc catalogue
starring: Arye Gross, Eric Schweig, Tim DeKay, Louise Fletcher, George Coe, Nan Martin,
O'Neal Compton, Corinne Bohrer, Veanne Cox, Douglas Sebern, Parker Livingston,
Cody Wayne, Josie Adams, Mark Twogood