The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Hidden Gem: The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio

I don't really need to say much about Julianne Moore. We all know how amazing she is, right? Anyway, Ms. Moore has sort of made a career of playing the "wife who has to deal with a lot of crap", as evidenced by her marvelous performances in "Far From Heaven" and "The Hours". But there's one performance of hers that is almost never mentioned, in a film that is almost completely overlooked. That film is "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio".

The film tells the true story of Evelyn Ryan, a woman who supported her ten children by winning jingle-writing contests in the 1950's. Her husband, played quite well by Woody Harrelson, is an alcoholic who abuses her and keeps secrets, and she has to keep it all together.

However, though the film sounds like a depressing and conventional biopic, it is far from it. It uses sequences of fantasy to lighten the mood and the tone of the film works perfectly, keeping it form falling into the cliche biopic traps that so many films fall into.

Plus, JULIANNE MOORE, people! This is actually the first film I ever saw with her (brief pause for sentiments) and it began my love for her. She's absolutely wonderful (as usual) and is probably the main reason this film succeeds as well as it does.

Woody Harrelson is also quite fantastic as the alcholic husband. He portrays him with sensitivity, making us feel as conflicted as Evelyn does. There's also a lovely supporting turn by Laura Dern, which is always amazing.

It's really too sad that Julianne was all but ignored in the awards season for this movie, but she truly is wonderful, as is the entire film. I kind of don't want to embed the trailer because it makes it look like a cheesey Hallmark movie, but it really isn't. It is instead, a lovely little gem with a heart of gold that tells the true story of a remarkable woman.

So...comment below! Have you seen "Prize Winner"? Do you think it's really just a glorified Hallmark Channel Original? Was Julianne robbed of an Oscar nomination???

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