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Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: Set in Southern Minnesota's farm country, Sweet Land is a poignant and lyrical celebration of land, love, and the American immigrant experience. (Libero LLC)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Sweet Land is a movie of extraordinary tenderness, in which Reaser and Guinee, using a language of looks, make you happy to think about what love once might have been.
  2. Demonstrating a mastery of the medium that belies his status as a first-time feature filmmaker, writer-director Ali Selim has crafted in Sweet Land a tale of pure Americana that speaks both to the immigrant experience and the nature of love.
  3. 88
    This year's actress to watch is Elizabeth Reaser, who delivers a tour de force as a determined German mail-order bride who comes to 1920 Minnesota in Ali Selim's captivating indie Sweet Land.
  4. 75
    A lovely , old-fashioned farm romance quietly doubling as a comment on immigration and American identity.
  5. The film's most memorable performance is in another supporting role, by Alan Cumming as hapless Frandsen, Olaf's sympathetic neighbor and a hopelessly inept farmer.
  6. The film’s guileless, heartfelt style veers perilously close to corniness at times, but the superb cast dares you to mock.
  7. Sweet Land is as empty and beautiful as the picturesque Minnesota terrain it's so clearly taken with.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. BobG.
    Dec 2, 2006
    I agree with Rene R on this forum board...I'm doing everything I can to spread the word about this film. Lovely, understated, and stirring. Deserves to be a huge success, not only at the box office, but at the award shows. (Just got its first nominations: Best First Feature and Best Actress at the Indepenent Spirit Awards.) Expand
  2. ReneR
    Oct 21, 2006
    This is a complete film - great story, fine natural performances & beautifully shot & edited. I can't stop thinking about it's subtle beauty & itimacy. I'm spreading the word to everyone I know who appreciates good film-making/storytelling. Expand
  3. BrianG
    Nov 9, 2006
    Love this movie. Superbly acted, especially the actress playing Inga. I loved the way it was lit and filmed. I wish my grandparents were still alive so I could ask questions about living in this time period. Expand
  4. GeneB.
    Dec 22, 2006
    We enjoyed this movie a great deal. I am not generally drawn to love stories but this film moved right a long and kept my attention.
  5. Bluezboy8
    Dec 26, 2006
    This work would best represent the true definition of American Pie. It recalls the European wave of immigration of the early 20th century, and would seem to hold a mirror to the present day. The story of the arranged union of Inga and Olaf moves at a pace that would probably be accurate for the times, and the preacher's discovery of the two dancing "during the daylight" was a realistic, and amusing symbol of cultural intolerance. The story moves in a somewhat predictable direction, but the cinematography and score fend off the notions of melodrama, and the messages of community, friendship, and commitment displayed in Sweet Land are purposely meant to be shared and absorbed by future generations. Expand
  6. LewisP
    Oct 23, 2006
    Here's a film that tries so hard to be ranked up there with the best of European Art Films, unfortunately it doesn't quite make the grade. [***SPOILERS***] Before we flashback to the main story (which is set in 1920 Minnesota) we're treated to two unnecessary "flash forward" scenes, one set in the 60s when the main character, Inge, buries her husband and another scene 20 or so years later when the grandson buries Inge. These scenes add nothing to the basic story and tend to sentimentalize the characters even further. When we finally do get to the core of the story, where Inge (well played by Elizabeth Reaser) comes to America, we find out little about the personalities of the characters. Most of the first half of the movie deals with Inge trying to cope with a hostile community where she barely speaks any English (it's not really explained very clearly, but Inge is a mail-order bride from Norway but she's actually German who's been living in Norway). Her husband-to-be Olaf, is a Norwegian-America who is unable to communicate with her in German (it appears that he can speak Norwegian and so can she--well at least I thought I heard her speak some Norwegian during the film) but they choose not to because the town minister insists that she only speak English. So quite unconvincingly, when they are alone, they never converse in Norwegian which would probably help her to learn English a lot faster. Reaser does a good job at showing how difficult it is learning a new language and there are some scenes that are fairly compelling as Inge and her hard-working farmer-husband learn to love each other. But beyond that what do we find out about the characters in this film? Well there's Olaf, who's a bit of a Stoic but also a real good guy who saves his best friend's farm by bidding for it at an auction (even though he doesn't have the money!). And of course there's the minister, who is caught up in the anti-German hysteria of the day and gives Inge a real hard time. But of course, he's really not such a bad guy after all because eventually he inexplicably comes to accept her. And in fact, all the neighbors, who at first appear as though they're going to start a witch-hunt against Olaf and his potential bride, suddenly have a change of heart and actually give Olaf the cash to buy his best friend's farm which prevents the family from being evicted. Since most everybody here has a heart of gold, none of the characters come off as multi-dimensional. As we step back into 1920, we feel the author only has a superficial sense of what it was like to live back in that time. Oh yes, there's a nice attempt to recreate the look of the period with the old Model-T cars and gramophones but without in-depth characters, the film ultimately proves to be an exercise in sentimental storytelling. Expand
  7. MM.
    Mar 11, 2007
    Nicely shot and acted, sure, but boring. The boring story that i thought we all have heard about a thousand times, crept along like a slug in the garden. We all knew exactly what was going to happen, and then nothing unique arose in teh journey. I wanted to like it as it is about my ancestors essentially, and wanted to care about her struggles, but she seemed empty and without personality. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews