A backwoods Texas schoolteacher (Hopper), nearing retirement, is transformed by a relationship with a new 17-year-old pupil (Locane): dodgy territory, given that this is based on a novella by Jim Harrison, author of such 'manly' pseudo-Lawrentian works as Wolf and Legends of the Fall. Hopper's Joseph Svenden is a likeable, honourable man, consumed by phlegmatic inertia: he describes himself as 'a mediocre teacher', with reluctant plans to return to farming if his small school closes; still lives in the old farm with his dying Ma (Harris); and walks crouched over a stick since a tractor accident. He reacts at first with an almost distant attitude to the forceful, knowing advances of the girl. The movie gets interesting not with his hay-barn sexual encounters, nor when he gazes at her naked form as she does a brazen (and ridiculous) Lady Godiva act, but in later scenes, such as when Joseph talks quietly in a bar with his doctor friend (Holbrook) of his lack of concern at the community's disapproval. Busey is good and authoritative as the girl's menacing father. Hackneyed but dignified.
Cast and crew