A Thousand Acres is a drama about an American family who meets with tragedy on their land. It is the story of a father, his daughters, and their husbands, and their passion to subdue the history of their land and its stories.
Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer are quietly dazzling in this underrated adaptation of Jane Smiley’s best-selling modern version of King Lear. The two play sisters of a stubborn, alcoholic Iowa farmer (Jason Robards), who decides to leave his fertile farm to them and their youngest sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
It is a decision that rends the family, setting siblings against one another and forcing long-held secrets out of their guilty closets. The family dynamics become ever more destructive, and the refuge of sanity the two older sisters have created may be their only salvation.
It’s a tragedy not quite on a Shakespearean scale, but anyone who appreciates the difficulties of a dysfunctional family will relate to the heartbreak–and the promise of redemption. Pfeiffer especially is breathtaking as the good housewife Rose, whose rage at her father and her husband is never far from her placid surface.
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Year of Release: 1997
Character to watch: Michelle Pfeiffer as Rose Cook Lewis.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?