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Palm Springs International Film Festival
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Reviewed on 2004-02-09

Anthony Minghella brings Charles Frazier's 1997 best-selling novel to the big screen. The film tells the story of Inman (Jude Law), a wounded confederate soldier who is on a perilous journey home to his mountain community, hoping to reunite with his pre-war sweetheart, Ada (Nicole Kidman). In his absence, Ada struggles to survive, and revive her father's farm with the help of intrepid young drifter Ruby (Renee Zellweger). Renee was fantastic. Other stars are Natalie Portman and Brendan Gleeson. Director Anthony Minghella was in California at the Palm Springs Film Festival this January and was honored with the Festival's International Filmmaker Award for Writing and Directing at the annual Awards Gala. He spoke to the festival crowd before the film screening January 11th and told how the project was a huge financial investment for Miramax and it took over 6 years to develop. I'm allergic to cold and I hate mountains. But the book called out to me when I read it. I didn't know anything about the Civil war, but my concern was the particulars of this book. It doesn't pretend to be authoritative about the Civil War; but takes a southern viewpoint- the viewpoint of people living in the mountains of North Carolina, whose understanding of the war was partial. It wasn't a political conflict for them; it wasn't even an ethical conflict. They were mostly poor farmers who thought that they were fighting for a way of life. The crowd at Palm Springs applauded this director. I love a war film that focuses part of the attention on the home front. Civil war fans mount up for this historical drama. The film was shot in Romania and the cast endured much hardship.

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