Ethan Frome

The landscapes of winter mirror the emotions in this adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1911 novel. Ethan Frome (Neeson), the New England farmer struggling to make ends meet, is one side of an eternal triangle, the others are his sickly cousin Zeena (Allen) and his fragile relative Mattie (Arquette). Their story is related by Mrs Hale (Houghton), the sexton's wife, to Rev Smith (Donovan), the new minister, who wants to help the Fromes. Although the dutiful husband, the bed-ridden wife and the poor relation are staples of melodrama, audiences should be able to identify with characters who see their hopes crushed, revivified and crushed again. Plainly filmed this tale may be - it is an 'American Playhouse' theatrical release - but it is honestly played and deeply felt. Bobby Bukowski's bleak cinematography and Rachel Portman's mournful score make the pain palpable.

Release details

Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Madden
Screenwriter: Richard Nelson
Cast: Liam Neeson
Patricia Arquette
Joan Allen
Tate Donovan
Katharine Houghton
Stephen Mendillo