Oozing sincerity and restraint, this coming-of-age tale submerges under the weight of its own worthiness. If you go with the flow, the languorous atmosphere and fine acting may draw you in, but a lack of dramatic focus frequently leads to a blurring of the edges. For young Stu Simmons (Wood) and his sister Lidia (Randall), growing up in small-town Mississippi in the early '70s is tough. Their father, Vietnam vet Costner, is unemployed and withdrawn due to post-traumatic stress, their mother struggles to make ends meet, and their clashes with the bullying Lipnicki boys repeatedly threaten to escalate into violence. The siblings' sole refuge is a tree-house they're building out of scrap metal; but unbeknown to Stu, his sister and her two black friends have been taking time out from their dance routines to steal these materials from the Lipnickis' scrapyard. With their feral, shaven-headed enemies now hellbent on revenge, Stu and Lidia must either fight for what's theirs or embrace the pacifism espoused by their repentant father. Once the film spills over into blatant anti-war allegory, everything starts to unravel. Already over-written to within an inch of its life, it lurches from one climax to the next, tugging at the heart-strings until they snap.
Cast and crew