A man who doesn't like stable work environments has been away for too many years, and finds out his wife has divorced him and is planning to remarry. He comes home to confront her, trying ...
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A man who doesn't like stable work environments has been away for too many years, and finds out his wife has divorced him and is planning to remarry. He comes home to confront her, trying to convince her not to get married, aided by the daughter, who loves him despite his wandering ways. The couple finds out they still have feelings for each other but must decide how best to handle the contradiction of their lifestyles.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
"Hard Promises" is a bit like a doing a rural remake of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" into which you incorporate the basic premise of "Sweet Home Alabama". While not in the same league as the former, it is considerably less offensive than the latter-which it may have inspired.
Billed as a romantic "comedy", the film contains little humor (unless you are still amused by small town stock characters) and nothing profound in the romance department. But like "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" it is about the interplay of love, freedom, and caring among people who have allowed a considerable distance to grow up between each other.
It features a nice performance by Sissy Spacek (who looks unexpectedly sexy and beautiful) and a nice portrayal of a charismatic character by William Peterson. Yet they are both upstaged by Olivia Burnette who plays the film's Francie character (handled so well by Peggy Ann Garner in "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn").
Joey Coalter (Peterson) is an aimless free-spirit who neglects his wife and daughter while drifting around the country. Like Johnny in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" he is full of unfulfilled promises and pipe dreams. He returns on the eve of his wife Christine's (Spacek) wedding; having been alerted by his daughter that Christine has obtained a divorce during his latest absence. About all Joey has going for him with viewers is that he loves both his daughter and his wife. About all he still has going for him with Christine is the charisma of a free- spirit and a continuing physical attraction.
His daughter Beth (Burnette) is his ally in his attempts to salvage their family, as she is not particularly fond of her mother's fiancée (Brian Kerwin). Kerwin's stable but boring character is the polar opposite of Joey and she thinks her mother is overcompensating for Joey's historical unreliability.
"Hard Promises" is mostly dedicated to exploring Joey's inherent and impossible to change aimlessness. This gets a little oppressive if you are looking for a dynamic story but the film is a successful exercise in unity and style. The score and the editing reinforce this theme and provide a surprising number of really beautiful and moving film moments. The climax is unconventional and they go out on a nice scene between father and daughter.
It is an unexpectedly slick production, a triumph of style over substance-but in a good way.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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