Magazine article Screen International

'Abundant Acreage Available': Tribeca Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Abundant Acreage Available': Tribeca Review

Article excerpt

A North Carolina-set comedy-drama set on a farm starring Amy Ryan and executive produced by Martin Scorsese

Dir. Angus MacLachlan, US. 2017. 80 minutes

The American family farm is in trouble, despite a rousing sentimental mythology. In telling its version of a small corner of that story, Abundant Acreage Available has more than its cumbersome title to worry about. Even in the genre of heartland movies, Angus MacLachlan's film is a novelty, a dramedy veering toward comedy about a property dispute. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, it is also a meditation on loss, which mocks the foibles of old age and the coming of death.

If there's an audience out there for this, it might be MacLachlan's own admirers - those who connected with the clever Junebug (2005), which he scripted, or Goodbye to All That (2014), his directorial debut. It might also resonate with fans of the homespun comic style of Garrison Keillor, the radio bard of rural Minnesota. Outside North America, though, it would seem to have the same chance of attracting an audience as an unripened Carolina turnip.

MacLachlan opens his story with brother and sister Jesse and Tracy (Terry Kinney and Amy Ryan) burying the ashes of their father in a field on their farm. As they mull over whether to stay or sell, they find three ageing men camping in their meadow. These men are from the family who sold their father the farm. Now they want their land back, so they can be buried there, along with their own father's ashes.

Three eccentric brothers sharing the same tent might be a barrel of laughs for some, and a stroke victim with his libido still in overdrive (Francis Guinan) leads the jokes. …

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