In the mid-70s, near Reno, Grace Bontempo runs the Love Ranch, a legal brothel. Her husband Charlie, with big dreams, a felony record, and an aptitude for spending and infidelity, is the brothel's public face. On the day Grace's doctor tells her she has cancer in an advanced state, Charlie takes on new client, Argentine boxer Armando Bruza, Charlie's ticket to fame: he hopes to promote a fight with Ali. Because of Charlie's felonies, Grace is Bruza's titular manager. With the IRS and the church ladies circling the business, Grace takes the manager's role seriously and, along the way, Bruza charms her. Secrets play out: is there love at the Love Ranch? How will Charlie respond?Written by
Charlie Bontempo (Joe Pesci) says to Grace Bontempo (Helen Mirren) after she's criticized his hat: "Who do you think you are, the queen of England?" Helen Mirren played Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), and also Elizabeth I in the TV mini-series by the same name. See more »
Love Ranch starts out in 1976, but the Reno Arch shown in the beginning of the film is the third Reno gateway and was not erected until 1987. See more »
Selling love will make you rich. That's what my mother taught me. Just don't put your heart in it.
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The thing that stands out immediately in "Love Ranch" is not the girls, not the 1970s clothes, but the amazing photography. Almost every outdoor scene could be the vista for a postcard. The story itself seems to drag in places, and then suddenly rush to a conclusion, with narration to tidy up the ending. The acting by Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci is terrific as expected, and a small scene with Harve Presnell a pleasant surprise. What is not a surprise is the tale of the Mustang Ranch on which the movie is based. It's tough to overcome the familiarity of a story often aired on cable over the last two decades. - MERK
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