This Hollywood remake of Le Grand Chemin is altogether slicker, revelling less in strange and simple provincial goings-on than in the star pairing of real-life couple Johnson and Griffith. Unhappily married, Ben and Lily Reed are plunged into bitter reflection on the death of their son when they are left in charge of ten-year-old Willard (Wood). The city boy has his own problems: he's uncertain why his pregnant mother (Gordon) has dumped him with country bumpkins, and bewildered about his father's prolonged absence from home. Amid the domestic dramas, sentimentality is never very far away. Johnson is nowhere near as flawed or interesting as his French counterpart, but at least he and Griffith are credibly loveless and joyless. They're helped by writer-director Donoghue's jaded observations and sensitive direction, though such attention is at the expense of the children, who are sometimes painfully stilted in their exchanges. Alas, the quirks which enlivened the original are missing: no peeing into gargoyles here.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Mary Agnes Donoghue|
|Screenwriter:||Mary Agnes Donoghue|