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Ulee's Gold

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Ulee's Gold

Starring: Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson
Director: Victor Nunez
Rated: R
RunTime: 113 Minutes
Release Date: June 1997
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Christine Dunford, Tom Wood, Jessica Biel, Vanessa Zima, Steven Flynn

Review by Walter Frith
2½ stars out of 4

Peter Fonda turned 58 years old in February and he is beginning to look and sound more and more like his famous father Henry who died in 1982. Fonda has pretty much always taken a back seat in popularity to his sister Jane who retired from movies in 1990 and today is married to billionaire media mogul Ted Turner. Peter Fonda is probably most famous for his 1969 classic film 'Easy Rider' written by Fonda himself along with Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern. Fonda starred in that film but his career has been a mediocre one at best and his daughter Bridget is now carrying the torch for the Fonda family into the next generation.

'Ulee's Gold' is a remarkable comeback opportunity for Peter Fonda and the low-key presentation of the hard driving subject matter is also quite impressive. Fonda plays a bee keeper and honey manufacturer living in central Florida with his two grand daughters and is involved in a friendship with his neighbour (Patricia Richardson) who happens to be a physician. Fonda's son is in a correctional facility after being involved in a robbery with two other men who maintain contact with Fonda's daughter-in-law and she is a recovering drug addict as we discover later in the film. It seems that while high one night she tells the two men about money her husband stashed from the robbery and upon his entrance to jail, kept this a secret. The two criminals want Fonda to locate the money and hand it over to them. Fonda is caught in a moral dilema concerning this crime while caring for the recovery of his daughter-in-law, raising his two daughters and keeping his business running.

This film works because its deliberate slow pace gives the film's entire tone a hint of reality and Fonda plays the aging bee keeper in a seasoned and somewhat sympathetic manner. This is a movie that will find a better audience on video in a few months and 'Ulee's Gold' is intended for mature audiences as it is free from the standard Hollywood trappings with a very ordinary presentation yet powerful message about family and the heartaches sometimes involved.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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