Sam Elliot, Joan Allen and Valentina de Angelis in "Off The Map"
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What a beautiful experience! It is a finely crafted dish lovingly prepared; I was able to savour every morsel and be sustained, uplifted and purified by it. I cried and laughed, perhaps because particular moments resonated with my life experience — and with the moments I still want to experience. Growing up as a bit of a wild child myself both in Australian bushland and Pacific paradise, I identified deeply with the film as a celebration of the landscape and plausible relationships to it. Yes, it was beautifully shot and the New Mexico landscape is breathtaking, but it has taken great sensitivity to capture it in ways that aren't cliched and sensational. I would love to go there and feel the dirt beneath my feet and declare the connection; that we are one. ""Off the Map"" is joyous, loving and reverential in its study of a group of people, of which any one of us could be a member. It shows us to be simultaneously ordinary, superbly amazing, confused and crystal clear in our un-extraordinary existence. It also has a serenity that is remarkable in 21st century film. This has a lot to do with the characters, who are allowed to be without an insistent imperative to develop and transform. Yet, they all do, in their own quiet ways. Like any review, I can pretend to assess the film on its artistic and technical merits, but ultimately, only its capacity to reach out and touch you is worth commenting upon. And, wow, this film got me!
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