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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Grass Harp (1995)

In 1935 Alabama, after his parents die, a young boy (Grayson Fricke who morphs into Edward Furlong) moves in with his two spinster cousins (Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie) and their black housekeeper (Nell Carter). Based on the celebrated Truman Capote novel and directed by Charles Matthau (Walter's son). By the time this film was released, Capote's novel had already been adapted for a stage play, a Broadway musical and twice for TV. Although it was critically well received, the film was a failure at the box office which is a real pity because it's a lovely rendition of the Capote novella. Matthau manages to provide an almost ethereal climate in which the memory piece plays out. Yet although delicate, it's never fragile. Indeed, it's made of a firm cinematic fabric. The ensemble cast is impeccable. Both Spacek as the domineering insensitive sister and Laurie as the gentle shy sister are cast against type. Normally, they would have been cast in opposite parts but they both prove what versatile actresses can do when they break away from type casting. A truly lovely little film. With Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Mary Steenburgen, Roddy McDowall, Charles Durning, Scott Wilson, Joe Don Baker, Doris Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery and Mia Kirshner.   

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