Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her. (IMDb)
To be honest, I am not one for Western movies. It’s just not my jam. But, this cast is too good to be ignored. Tommy Lee Jones writes, directs, and stars. There’s Hilary Swank who we haven’t seen for awhile. Then not only is Grace Gummer in this, but Meryl Streep is in it too. The only thing that would have made it better is if they had actually played mother and daughter. Granted, Streep is only in a little bit of it, along with James Spader, John Lithgow, and Hailee Steinfeld, but still. So. I watched it. And I still don’t like Westerns. Parts were interesting, like the sheer set up that pioneer life drove three women mad. That was set up really nicely. It’s so desolate and lonely and when bad things happen, you’re expected to move on. So that was nice. And at the beginning I was really digging Hilary Swank’s character. She is independent and has her own land and stands up to the “proper” women, but there’s also this underlying desperation of wanting to be married, even if it is just to be a proper woman. And Swank is a smart actor, and you could see her working to bring those layers out, but at the end of the day, the script didn’t give it to her. Her character practically 360s at one point, and I give her credit for trying to justify it earlier in the movie, but it just didn’t work. She basically ends up being a plot device for Jones’ character, which wasn’t how it was set up at the beginning. Because once that shift happens, the rest of the movie is almost unbearably predictable. Although. I will say some of the cinematography is really pretty. So that was cool. But all in all, valiant effort Mr. Jones. It was almost there, but not quite.