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Laramie Movie Scope:
A River Runs Through It

A classic tale of fathers and sons

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 4, 1992 -- ``A River Runs Through It'' is a very unusual Hollywood movie: it is literary and it has a heart of gold.

Based on the Norman Maclean novella, it tells the story of two brothers and their father. the brothers, played by Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer, are good, but veteran actor Tom Skeritt steals the show with his fine portrayal of the clergyman father/fly fisherman.

The low-key story unfolds nicely as a tale of two brothers with very different personalities Paul Maclean (Pitt) is the risk-taking chemical-dependent type who ends up as a hard-drinking, gambling newspaperman. His mild-mannered brother, Norman (Sheffer) on the other hand, is the studious, play-it-safe type who ends up as a college professor, but who secretly envies his brother.

Fathers are almost never portrayed well in the movies, but this film is an exception. This film shows a father who is intelligent, loving, and who is a teacher to his sons as well as a disciplinarian.

The slow-moving film is low in dramatic tension at times, but it makes up for it with a rich palette of deep emotions one rarely sees displayed in such a sensitive fashion. Director Robert Redford has done a magnificent with a story which is very difficult to translate to the film medium. It makes you want to seek out the book and read it.

Redford also performs the extensive narration in the film, quoting long passages from the book. The passages are wonderful and blend well with the fine cinematography by Phillipe Rousselot. As fine as the images are, however, the words are far more powerful, proving once again Eric Severeid's adage: ``A word is worth a thousand pictures,'' especially when that word is love.

This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)