Carried Away (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
Two thumbs up for the film and for Dennis Hopper.
Scoop's notes in white
So if I told you that the movie stars Dennis Hopper and he has sex with a 17 year old girl, you'd think it was some film about biker psychopaths. With Gary Oldman as his hard-ridin', mass-murderin' best pal, right?
You're forgetting that Hopper has two characters.
This film features type B Hopper, and it is some of the best work he has ever done. Hopper plays a depressed middle-aged man in a depressing small town. His mother is dying. He's been dating the same middle-aged woman for six years. He's a plodding, uninspired schoolteacher, and his family farm has failed. His heart is pure, but his life is safe and hardly worth living ...
... until a sexy nymph of a 17 year old and her retired Army dad move into town.
The vixen ends up in Hopper's class and, shortly thereafter, in his bed. Hopper never had any intention of making a move on her, but she initiated the sex. He said no, then changed his mind and experienced some forgotten passion.
The film is based on the novel "Farmer", by Jim Harrison, author of "Legends of the Fall." Although the movie was made in America with American actors, from an American novel about American characters, it is fully steeped in the European sensibilities. It's a real movie about real people doing things on a real schedule. There is also a minimum of action and plot contrivance. Although there is considerable sex and nudity, there is no sensationalism in the plot after the initial set-up. The principal characters all accept what has happened and try to figure out how to move on with their lives. The girl's dad doesn't want to kill anyone. The middle aged girlfriend tries to understand the situation, and ultimately benefits from her lover's dalliance. There is a minimum of judgment, either in the words the characters speak about one another, or in the attitude of the scriptwriter as measured by the consequences of people's actions. If anything, the film ultimately concludes that Hopper was right to let himself get "carried away", that it saved him from spending the rest of his life sitting around waiting to die.
Tuna's notes in yellow
Carried Away belongs
in a small group of films that should have been very well known, but
somehow went to video with a whimper after a token theatrical release.
I was unable to discover why. Now that it is available on DVD, it may
gain the audience it so deserves.
Then 17 year old
Catherine walks into his classroom. She is sexually precocious, and drop
dead gorgeous, After she decides that Joseph is about as good as it gets
in the hick town, she has no trouble at all seducing him. Joseph, for
the first time in his life, allows himself to be carried away. It begins
to get messy when Catherine concocts some fantasy that Joseph will marry
her, and people start finding out about their relationship. It is at
this point that the film could have gone way over the top, but didn't.
In the last analysis, you might call it a romantic drama about the older
couple, showing how Joseph's affair with the young girl revitalized his
dying relationship with Rosalee, but there are many other subtexts going
on as well.
Amy Irving and her husband Bruno Barreto, who directed the film, both feel it is a beautiful film. I agree.
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