Usually, I don’t write scathing reviews. I’m pretty nice for the most part. However, this movie really left me depressed and unsatisfied. It is a dark story with no happy ending of rural life in Scotland pre-WWI. It’s been highly rated by critics, including Roger Ebert’s Website, but since they don’t pay me the big bucks to write reviews, I’ll let my peanut-gallery two cents proceed with my ranting.
Apparently, this movie is an adaptation of a novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbons. The story revolves around a daughter of a Scottish farmer. Hailed as an “epic rights of passage” for a young farm girl, Chris Guthrie, it’s frankly a depressing journey, to say the least. As a young girl with her older brother, they live in an abusive household with their father who is a tyrant and jerk. He beats the elder son and has no mercy for constantly impregnating his wife. (Of course, I get it, no birth control back then.)
Her mother gives birth to twins, when she already has four children, and then becomes pregnant again. After falling into depression, she poisons herself and the two babies. Eventually, the son leaves home, and Chris is left to take care of the household putting her dreams of being a teacher aside. When her father has a stroke, her life is further burdened with his care until he finally dies.
She inherits the family farm, meets a young man, gets married, has a baby, and he is called off to serve in the Great War. The movie is a continual spiral downward regarding her life, husband, and eventual widowhood.
This story is not a rite of passage with anything uplifting whatsoever. It’s a dark and depressing look into the life of one family that leaves very little at the end for its viewers. Clearly, suffering is understandable in life. Written into a story it should at least have some purpose for its characters that leave the audience in a decent mood. However, this film has no redeeming purpose in the end.
Instead of floating my remote, it sank.