Letters from the Big Man
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Nov 7 2011
You know what they say about men with big feet. Artist and scientist Sarah Smith (Rabe) sure does: A loner by nature, she spends much of her time on solo expeditions in the Oregon woods measuring water levels for the government and communing with eight-foot-tall Sasquatches. Wait...what? Writer-director Christopher Munch surely intends the double take when he first shows us one of the hairy, towering forest creatures (a triumph of makeup design) about a quarter of the way through this earnest ecological parable. Up until then, it seems as if we're watching an intriguingly subdued character study in the Old Joy vein about a lonesome gal and the metaphor-laden landscapes she wanders through. But Munch, it turns out, is after much bigger go-green-damn-you! game.
The bigfeet are actually Zen-like spirits who appear to Sarah with eco-friendly messages---which the movie unfortunately literalizes via several flower-power voiceovers. And in a kooky head-scratcher of a subplot, Sarah's colleague and love interest (Harner) discovers the existence of a clandestine government agency out to exploit the creatures' seemingly magical powers. The story's half-baked environmental themes become more prevalent as Letters from the Big Man progresses to its back-to-nature finale, which unfortunately distracts from Munch's consistently sure hand with his actors. Rabe, especially, suggests luminous depths of wisdom and experience with each captivating expression; she helps to focus a film that is otherwise lamentably scattershot.
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Author: Keith Uhlich