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Far and Away Movie Review

shannon joseph christie howard

1992 – Ron Howard –

Ron Howard may be one of the most imaginative and inspiring filmmakers of our time. When he is coupled with one of the great masters of movie music, John Williams, the result is a movie that not only looks like an epic, but sounds like one too.

This is a story about a most unlikely romance between Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) and Shannon Christie (Nicole Kidman). Joseph, the son of an Irish tenant farmer, leaves home after the death of his father and the subsequent burning of his home by the agents of his landlord. The purpose of his first quest is to murder the landlord, Daniel Christie (Robert Prosky), a loveable old gentleman who has no real idea of the business dealings in which he is involved.

This murder plot fails, and Joseph is captured and held prisoner in the landlord's home until he can fight a duel with the overseer of the landlord's business, the same man who burned Joseph's home. Christie's daughter Shannon comes to his room and tells him of her plan to flee to America. He escapes the duel in the morning fog with Shannon. Once in America, the couple is forced to take menial jobs while back in Ireland, Christie's tenants revolt and burn his home. He and his wife (Barbara Babcock) also decide to immigrate to America.

Occasionally meandering the film dramatizes a quest that covers two continents, and therein lies its epic quality. Filmed on location in Ireland and Montana, it is a sweeping tale of love and desire, not only the passion Joseph has for Shannon but also the desire they both have to own land. Joseph knows well what his dying father told him—that a man without land is worthless. Shannon desires to be a modern and independent woman, and she sees America as the answer to both of these ambitions. In Ireland her father is the lord of the manor, but in America Shannon herself becomes the driving force behind the Christie family. The characters reunite in Oklahoma for the spectacular land rush (excitingly photographed by Mikael Salomon), illustrating beautifully how the quests of Joseph and Shannon not only cover vast distances but also make them equally at home with poor Irish tenant farmers and in the landscapes of the American West. The transition from one to the other is spectacular and moving. Opie makes great movies.

Cast: Tom Cruise (Joseph Donnelly), Nicole Kidman (Shannon Christie), Thomas Gibson (Steven), Robert Prosky (Daniel Christie), Barbara Babcock (Nora Christie), Cyril Cusack (Danty Duff), Eileen Pollack (Molly Kay), Colm Meaney (Kelly), Douglas Gillison (Dermody), Michelle Johnson (Grace), Wayne Grace (Bourke), Niall Toibin (Joe), Barry McGovern (McGuire), Gary Lee Davis (Gordon), Jared Harris (Paddy), Steve O'Donnell (Colm), Wesley Murphy (Landlord), Jimmy Keogh (Priest), Clint Howard (Flynn), Rance Howard (Tomlin) Screenwriter: Bob Dolman, Ron Howard Cinematographer: Mikael Salomon Composer: John Williams Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 134 minutes Format: VHS, LV, DVD Box Office: $58.9M (domestic gross).

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