Adventures in Netflix! Episode 26: Sweet Land

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In this installment of Adventures in Netflix!I will be reviewing the 2005 independent film Sweet Land.

When I think about Sweet Land, the term “perfect movie” springs almost immediately to mind. There are no flaws to be found in it, no missteps or plot holes, no weaknesses or unfulfilled promises. Every inch of this movie is perfect, fulfilling its potential to the highest degree possible.

So, how then to review a “perfect movie?” As you can guess, I have nothing negative to say about it. I could simply sing its praises for a few paragraphs, but that would be boring. Instead, I think I’ll try to convey just what it is about this movie I like so much, though it might be easier to just make you watch the movie and let it speak for itself.

Set in rural Minnesota in the wake of World War I, Sweet Land tells the story of Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), a young German woman newly arrived in America, and Olaf (Tim Guinee), her husband-to-be. Things become difficult for the two almost immediately after they first meet, as Inge’s nationality causes many, but not all, in their small town to shun her and her fianc√©.

Meet the original iPod, kids. Still, it’s better than carrying an orchestra around in your suitcase.

The soft-spoken beauty Sweet Land Possesses in everything from cinematography to set dressing and costumes is difficult to convey with just a few words. Everything about the look and feel of the movie feels so superbly real it’s impossible not to lose yourself in it. In a single, unassuming shot the sheer enormity of a corn field is conveyed so powerfully as to be almost staggering.

The characters, both in terms of writing and acting, contribute significantly to the movie’s sense of realness. Reaser so effortlessly inhabits Inge that it doesn’t matter that the character can only speak a handful of words in English, you can understand her perfectly by the tone of her voice and the strength with which she conducts herself. Guinee is wonderful as well and Olaf, while generally quiet and mild mannered, possesses a kindhearted determination that fits well with Inge’s vibrancy.

While the movie is at its heart a love story, it feels like so much more. It’s a story about people, and in turn, life. As such, there is no shortage of hardship and difficultly in its events, but even when things go wrong the characters always manage to maintain an attitude of positivity that is, though I hate use such a sappy phrase, heartwarming.

No, they’re not dead, just resting. Turns out harvesting a whole field by yourself BY HAND is a lot of work.

I could easily go on, but I doubt anyone would want to read much more. Simply put, Sweet Land is a beautiful movie, and I sincerely urge anyone even remotely interested go watch it as soon as possible. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

~NekoShogun

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