In the 19th century Nebraska Territory, spinster Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to transport three women who have lost their minds back east, and enlists the help of a man (Tommy Lee Jones) she saves from being hanged. A genre-bending Western from Jones who succeeds in combining immense pain in the story with a sense of humor (unexpectedly enough in the character he’s playing) and gorgeous cinematography. It’s a film about the hardship that faced people who traveled out west in those days, and its torturous consequences; remains compelling throughout, even though the story itself runs out of steam toward the end. Strong performances by Swank and Jones; well cast stars in supporting roles.
2014-U.S.-France. 122 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Luc Besson, Peter Brant, Brian Kennedy. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones. Screenplay: Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A. Oliver. Novel: Glendon Swarthout. Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto. Music: Marco Beltrami. Cast: Tommy Lee Jones (George Briggs), Hilary Swank (Mary Bee Cuddy), Grace Gummer (Arabella Sours), Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Meryl Streep… John Lithgow, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Tim Blake Nelson, William Fichtner, David Dencik.
Trivia: Paul Newman allegedly tried to get the movie made a few times when he owned the rights.
Last word: “They are not going west to conquer, they are going east to survive. ‘The Homesman’ isn’t a western movie, but a movie that is about the history of women in my family. I don’t think there is a woman around who hasn’t been objectified or trivialized because of her gender.” (Jones, The New York Times)