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The story involves Rose Chismore's youth. She flashes back and remembers her coming-of-age. Her recollections are sometimes less than sweet, particularly those of her troubled and alcoholic stepfather. Her memories of Robin, her first love, are much happier, and she also recalls her colorful Aunt Starr, whose visit is fun, but also detrimental to her family's health. The setting of 1950s Nevada bomb testing is increasingly significant to the development of the story.Written by
Melissa Portell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Intensely emotional, so much so, that it's hard to watch in places. Jon Voight's performance of a WWII veteran tortured and twisted mentally by his war experiences is intimidating, even volatile.
The story is set in the '50's, at a time when the U.S. is testing nuclear weapons at a base north of Las Vegas. Jack Chismore (Voight), the veteran, and his family live in the Nevada desert near Las Vegas. There are parallel stories, weaving the news of the nuclear technology around the conflicts of Chismore's mental cruelty and abusive behavior to his family; in particular, his coming-of-age daughter Rose (Annabeth Gish). Gish is sensational in this role; she holds her own in verbal sparring with the always skillful Jon Voight. You really feel her frustration, and love to hate Chismore. The latter, though, slowly becomes more sympathetic as you understand his suffering more.
Coming-of-age stories have a few standard plot lines, but they're handled tenderly and resist exploitation here. Rose has a boy friend, and she's learning the facts of not only her own personal life, but the ugly and frightening facts of the world simultaneously.
The final image is riveting; in a single shot, the twin points of loss of innocence--Rose's, as well the world's--are melded together brilliantly with a single camera shot. A fine movie with a powerful theme.
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