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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Plot Overview


football and flagchurchWelcomeWelcome to America
Now Speak Englishpencil in handNorwegian flagIt's 1920. At a Minnesota train station and fresh off the boat comes postal bride Inge Altenberg (Elizabeth Reaser) to meet her intended Olaf Torvik (Tim Guinee) with his best man Alvin Frandsen (Alan Cumming) to go to the church for a wedding. The German speaking minister doesn't cotton to the fräulein's Deutsche name and refuses to marry them in this xenophobic post-war America. Unfortunately, on arrival she'd signed a form and passed money to a canvasser thinking it was baksheesh for “immigrations” and now, like it or not, she's a member of the Socialist Party, which causes a snafu at the court­house where they try next. So she's provisionally put up in this insular Norwegian-American community until they can get it sorted out.

studyingrooster and
chickOlaf is a successful farmer but his spread got too large for a one-man operation, and as he was too shy to approach any of the local lasses, his parents back in Norway sent him this marriage­able beauty. She grew up there in Snåsa, though she's originally from Germany. Olaf is a fine representative of hard-working America, and his bride-to-be applies her­self diligently to her—required—English study and—never-ending—farm chores.

barkFrandsen came over on the boat when he was but five. Being a gregarious sort he had no difficulty marrying when he was of age good time Marta “Brownie” (Alex Kingston) who has produced nine kids so far and “drops another one every year.” She's from a mixed heritage but considers her­self American through and through. She knows how to cook and her apple pies are a delight. Frandsen's farm is smaller than Olaf's, and he's got children for field hands as well, but he has sprung for a tractor, a “bigger, faster, better” way to farm. Through poor management he's become insolvent and his property is like to go on the auction block.

MinistryPlay ball

Lutheran minister Sorrensen (John Heard) as a man of the cloth goes by the book, while as an American he enjoys base­ball. He tries to get around the bureaucracy holding up the wedding by going through some back-channel church-to-church communication with a counter­part in Osnabrük to vouch for the girl's bona fides, to show she's not a spy, but the information he receives is tentative at best. He has to abide by the rules of the game … but that doesn't mean he can't steal a base.


open bookChurch
serviceThe conflicted minister publicly castigates the foreign woman and her man in a sermon: “You're dancing together, and living together, and God only knows what else. Your German­ness is a disruption to my community. Your coffee is too black. It is harvest time, a time when we must stick together or suffer alone.” He turns to (1Cor. 5:9-13) “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators—” but he dumbs it down with a para­phrase, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people.” He follows up with an application: “They're not married, no. I find them dancing together, sharing the same quarters, perhaps the same bed. You cannot choose to live like that and also to join with us.” The humiliated couple stalks out followed by friend Frandsen.

The word fornication as used in the KJV here in 1920 would be as Webster defines it, “human sexual inter­course other than between a man and his wife.” It is expressly forbidden in the (KJV) Bible and would include: premarital sex, bestiality, adultery, wife swapping, sodomy, incest, and orgies. Later English Bibles almost universally substitute the relativistic phrase “sexual immorality” for the prohibition, which is subject to a lot of inter­pretation. Here the minister makes the substitution on his own and includes in it such things as too many beans in the coffee. But she was brewing a cuppa joe, not doing a coupling with Joe. Thus the minister runs afoul of, (Prov. 30:5-6) “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”

The code of righteousness he says constrains him includes temperance, (Gal. 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long­suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (1Cor. 9:24-25) “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” (2Pet. 1:6) “Add to knowledge temperance.” (Wisdom 7:7) “Righteousness … teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude: which are such things, as men can have nothing more profitable in their life.” a swing and a missbugs waltzingWebster defines “temperance 1: moderation in action, thought, or feeling: restraint.” While the activity of sexual inter­­course requires a major expenditure of energy, base­ball or waltzing are less demanding and should be allowed Christians. A modicum of thought should reveal that a walk from the barn where he beds down to the house where she sleeps should be enough for a body to come to his senses should he find him­self straying. And how­ever much the minister dislikes a parishioner's coffee can't he grin and bear it? It shouldn't be a federal case.

The minister's code should include, (Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thy­self over wise. why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” Maybe there isn't a pinko under every rock, and maybe a couple's committed conjugal relations can be acceptable until offically sorted out after harvest. Just saying.

Production Values

” (2005) was written and directed by Ali Selim. It was based on Will Weaver's short story, “A Grave­stone Made of Wheat.” It was told in an elegiac fashion looking back from a long, fulfilling life. It stars Tim Guine, Elizabeth Reaser, and Alan Cumming. Guinee was a strong anchor. Other standouts include John Heard as the conflicted minister, Ned Beatty as a shifty banker, and Alex Kingston as a farmer's wife.

MPAA rated it PG for brief partial nudity and mild language. The landscape was cleaned-up rugged as were the characters. The pace was leisurely. It was mostly all done in English. The music fit right in. Runtime is 1 hour 50 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I found it easy to appreciate as I was raised on a farm. City folk might find it partly undeveloped. The animals have the briefest of appearances. It looks pretty old timey. If that feel suits you, then the movie should be unobjectionable. The sedate pace may be too slow for some.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Apocryphal scripture is taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrickson Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: merriam-webster. 1984. Print.