Older Than America (2008) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A woman's haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest's sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school. A contemporary drama of suspense, this movie delves into the lasting impact of the cultural genocide and loss of identity that occurred at these institutions across the United States and Canada.

  • Three intersecting stories are told centered on the Fond du Lac Reservation and the adjacent town of Cloquet in northeastern Minnesota. In story one, native Americans Rain O'Rourke and Johnny Goodfeather, a teacher and a police officer on the reservation respectively, have been living together for ten years, off the reservation despite Johnny's job solely out of circumstance. They have not felt ready to get married until now, Johnny asking her which coincides with his announcement that he has been accepted into the FBI training program in Washington, DC. Rain isn't sure if she is prepared to move, since her mother, Irene, has long been institutionalized in a local psychiatric institution diagnosed as schizophrenic, she inching closer to being in a vegetative state. Under this circumstance, Rain was raised by her Auntie Apple, who has long assimilated into western society, she a devout Catholic who turns to Father Dimitri Bartoli for any guidance. What Rain eventually confides to Johnny is that she of late has been seeing visions of things she doesn't understand, she fearing that she may be going the way of her mother. In story two, Luke Patterson, a government geologist, has come to the area to investigate a reported earthquake - if it be the case, a rare earthquake - on the reservation. Beyond Johnny helping him get a city hall permit to investigate on the reservation, Luke befriends Johnny in Luke's extended stay in the area. In story three, native American Steve Klamath is running for mayor against the long time incumbent, Paul Gunderson, who has always been pro development on the reservation. As the campaign progresses, Steve, who wants to fight for native rights from the inside of the establishment, seems to be waging a losing battle in the native population historically staying home on voting day, with the non-Native population largely viewing him with contempt. Radio talk show host Richard Two Rivers, who is seen as the voice of the reservation, outwardly gives Steve's campaign airtime if only because it is Steve's side who contacts the radio station about the campaign, although his background may show Steve as not truly being the voice of the reservation as he is perceived by the public. The answers to the outstanding questions in these stories are all hidden in the secrets from a generation ago at the now abandoned Catholic boarding school on the reservation.



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