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Review: The Homesman


Release date: March 12

Directed by Tommy Lee Jones

Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep

Run time: 123 minutes

Rating: MA15+


Directed by Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones, ‘The Homesman’ is a period drama set in the 1850’s. Adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s novel of the same name, ‘The Homesman’ is both an emotional and complex tale, due to its brilliant screenplay by Kieren Fitzgerald and Tommy Lee Jones. The film revolves around protagonists Mary Bee Cuddy (played by Hilary Swank) and George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) on their journey as they try to better the lives of three mentally ill women who have been driven insane by the hardships they have experienced. Mary Bee and Briggs set off on a journey to transport these women across the country to seek the help of Altha Carter, the wife of a church minister (played by Meryl Streep).

Classified as a member of the western genre, under Jones’ direction ‘The Homesman’ features breathtaking cinematography comprising of scenes taking advantage of the Nebraskan backdrop where the story is set.  These picturesque scenes accompanied by Marco Beltrami’s musical score bring incredible heart and light to a story that at times can be rather dark and difficult to watch. With this in mind however, both Jones and Swank give astounding performances within this piece where Swank is able to portray the fragile yet noble persona of Cuddy brilliantly, whilst Jones is able to at times bring subtle humour to a story that on the most part is not at all funny.

While ‘The Homesman’ is a power film it can be said that it would not suit all tastes due to its very dark and often confronting content which is what sets it apart from the typical western that audiences may be familiar with. With that in mind however, the story along with its editing and Jones’ direction present to the audience a very raw and honest account of the effects pioneer life had upon those living in Nebraska in the 1850’s and therefore it cannot be faulted. 

– Katherine Powell