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Overall Rating
4.27

Awesome: 40%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 3.33%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 18 user ratings


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Big Eden
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by Natasha Theobald

"You just want to give this movie a big hug."
4 stars

Big Eden is an idyllic place both in beauty and in spirit. Natural cabins have enormous windows looking out onto stunning vistas of mist-covered mountains and still, blue lakes. Everything is rich in color, deep blues and greens. You literally want to jump into the screen and be in that place.

The people of Big Eden are loving and open, wanting only the best for each other, wishing every happiness to one another from wherever happiness may come. They smile and mean it. They send their best wishes and mean it. It is a wonderful world where everyone roots for one another and helps out when they can. They are all, in a sense, family, and they love the way family is supposed to love, unconditionally.

Henry Hart is an artist in New York. Big Eden is just a distant memory to him until he is called back in the wake of his grandfather's stroke to care for him. It is not an easy journey for him to make, back home. He thought he had left small town life behind him. He thought he had been able to distance himself from the people who loved him, as well as those he loved.

Henry is not back long before he learns that his best friend from high school has moved back with his two sons following his divorce. Henry greets him with apprehension and curiosity. He loved Dean as a dear friend, but he also loved him in a way that Dean could not reciprocate. This love led to the worst sort of heartbreak, the kind that happens when you are young, still pure and unknowing, full of innocence and hope. His hopes having been dashed, Henry didn't look back. He abandoned his friend and abandoned Big Eden. But now he must stay and face what he thought he could not.

The town and Henry's life are peopled with many others, including a family friend to whom he lends a hand in teaching kids and Widow Thayer, the most well-meaning busybody ever. When Widow Thayer realizes, upon organizing a welcome party full of single women, that Henry doesn't seem interested, she organizes a second party full of single, gay men for him. Henry isn't looking for a fix-up either way, but the gesture is so sweet and unexpected that you can't help but be charmed. Henry also becomes reacquainted with Pike Dexter, a man he knew from school days who owns the town's store. Pike is beyond shy, almost unable to speak, but slowly opens to the idea of a new friend. The people of the town in general envelop Henry with kindness and warmth, but he doesn't know for sure whether what some say is true, that you can never truly go home again.

The movie is lovingly created by writer-director Thomas Bezucha. He combines a beautiful landscape with an amazing cast and patiently waits for life to happen. The characters are not overly quirky or cloying in the way small town people are often depicted. The actors give heart and flesh to the characters. You want them to move in next door. There is not one sour note in any of the performances. They are universally divine.

The soundtrack is filled with country music. It's not what I usually listen to, so I'm very unfamiliar with it, but, in the context of the movie, the songs about love and love lost were very well placed. The music gave an emotional resonance and also made the place seem more grounded in reality. The movie has such an idealistic worldview that it sometimes seems too good to be true, but the music makes things specific in a way that brings it back to earth.

The story may sound sentimental, and I suppose it is, but in the best way possible. It is sentimental for a time and place that exist in the heart and mind. It is sentimental for people who know that love is the only thing that matters.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5330&reviewer=317
originally posted: 08/03/02 06:51:14
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User Comments

12/13/08 Annie G Another film selling small town life. Didnít see chemistry, but not too bad for genre. 3 stars
3/30/08 The Str8t Gal Beautiful, heartfelt movie with acceptance for everyone-- gay, confused, or painfully shy. 5 stars
3/08/05 Danny Beautiful, moving, poetic. One of few films depicting gays as just regular folks! 5 stars
11/18/04 Jarod T An smazing, magnificent, superb and classic movie 5 stars
10/12/04 Bruce J Scott want the sondtrack 5 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt I thought this movie sounded great, but it's an overrated bore that goes nowhere. 2 stars
10/09/03 Ivy As a gay person it was so refreshing to see us protrayed as normal people 5 stars
10/09/03 Angry Black Man Just bought the dvd. Cool movie with a true to life cast. Not a pretty boy in sight. 5 stars
10/09/03 Lynn Heartwarming, encouraging, full of hope, it made me cry 5 stars
6/25/03 Jesse Salinas Excellent Movie, I saw it 10 times so far. I just wish there was a place like Big Eden tha 5 stars
3/30/03 Paul Thomas Best gay film ever! Watch it twice and watch how subtle this movie is. 5 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy Sweet film. But those are the most open-minded, tolerant rural folk I've ever seen. 3 stars
9/10/01 Alan Wow, what an amazing homosexual romance film. It was refreshing to see. 5 stars
8/20/01 Donald Wonderful, sweet, touching, great score/scenery. 4 stars
8/16/01 W. Barry Thomson Fine movie, despite the unrealistic unanimous support of the townfolk for gay characters. 4 stars
8/12/01 Mark Oliver Completely excellent film -- totally awesome to see something that feels like real life. 4 stars
6/28/01 Duane Simmons I thought the movie was awesome. Although Big Eden is not a real place, it should be. 5 stars
6/27/01 Curt Too sweet to miss and the setting/cinema is faboo 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jun-2001 (PG-13)

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