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Film Review

Dean Stewart undresses for Henry. "Who's ready for a swim?"

Big Eden
by Beck Finley

Guide Rating -  


If you thought the Irish held the patent on cutesy small-town romantic comedies, you'll be surprised to find one set in, of all places, Montana. Big Eden finds itself in the same genre as the likes of "Waking Ned Devine" and "Saving Grace." You know the type. Precious scenes that do nothing to advance the plot, a full cast of quirky supporting characters and enough tugs on your heart strings to qualify as bypass surgery.

Written and directed by newcomer Thomas Bezucha, "Big Eden" is the story of the return of a small town's prodigal son. Up-and-coming NY artist Henry Hart (Arye Gross) is unexpectedly called back to Big Eden, Montana by the illness of the grandfather (George Coe) who raised him. Henry's return stirs up the entire town, including the inevitable band of layabouts who hang around the general store and Dean, his former best friend-- also newly returned to Big Eden.

What we're supposed to think of as the main point of the story--Henry's love life-- isn't nearly as interesting as the line of expectations put onto Harry by what seems to be all of the townspeople. Somehow, everyone but Henry's grandfather knows that Henry's gay, and they're all okay with it. In fact, the notorious Widow Thayer (Nan Martin) spends most of her time trying to set Henry up with Pike or any other eligible gay man in the vicinity. They all want Henry to be something more than he's ready to be: comfortable. Add to this Dean's struggle against heterosexuality, and the movie takes on a sort of bizarre taint that probably isn't quite intended by its makers.

That aside, "Big Eden" is what it is--a fanciful romantic comedy full of quaint characters and breathtaking scenery. There are no dazzling performances or intricate camera shots here. But when boy finally gets boy, and the other boy finally gets the girl, all is as it should be.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material.
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: Dolby
Certification: USA:PG-13

Beck Finley is a freelance writer and critic. She lives on the Missouri side of Kansas City with her husband, Ryan Kegley, and dog, Tummy.

 Related Reviews    Related Resources
• More reviews by Beck Finley
• Official Site
• "Big Eden" at the IMDb
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