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97 of 99 found the following review helpful:
Big Eden - a touching gay romance with heart and soul!Apr 05, 2004
Big Eden is a romantic fantasy for mature souls. This warm, wonderful film taps into the universal emotional drives for family, love, and a place to call home. Audiences at numerous film festivals have taken to heart the Everyman characters created by some exceptional performers, guided by the writing and direction of Thomas Bezucha.
The story revolves around Henry Hart. He's a transplanted New Yorker - an artist on the verge of major success in the big city. As he readies for his big gallery show, a call comes from his hometown. His grandfather, the man who raised Henry after the death of his parents, has had a stroke. Henry, despite the protests of his friend/agent, hops the first plane back to Montana, and quickly becomes thrust back into the lives of the small community he had left years before.
As he integrates back into the Big Eden community, Henry has to cope with helping his grandfather adjust to his medical condition, as well as dealing with the curiosity and interference of the well-meaning locals. The standout is the Widow Thayer, who is enlisted to do the cooking for Henry and his grandfather, but who takes it upon herself to play matchmaker for Henry.
Henry's most-anticipated reunion is with Dean, his best friend from high school, and not-so-secret crush. Dean has also recently returned to town following his divorce, and is very happy to rekindle his friendship with Henry. Other familiar faces from Henry's past include Anna, the mayor of the town, and Pike, the painfully shy, enigmatic owner of the general store.
As Henry and Dean begin to re-explore their relationship, another potential romantic partner surfaces, and the whole town becomes aware of the situation. Rather than exploding with intolerance and homophobia, the townsfolk become conspirators and cheerleaders for everyone to wind up in happy relationships, regardless of orientation.
Much of the criticism of this film involves the unlikelihood that small-town America would be as open-minded and supportive as the members of the Big Eden community when it comes to the issue of same-sex relationships. This would be a valid point in a documentary, but Big Eden is a fictional location. It should not be any more difficult to accept this dramatic convention than it is to accept that Dorothy can visit Oz after a bump on the head, or that Julia Roberts can be rescued from a life of prostitution by a mogul who looks like Richard Gere.
Big Eden is the type of wonderful surprise that keeps me returning to the Outfest film festival year after year. Many of the movies I see there are formulaic and forgettable, but every now and then a fresh new perspective pops up on screen, and reminds me of how an enjoyable film can create a world filled with characters and relationships that entertain, and stay with you. This was my reaction to Big Eden, as well as many other audience members at Outfest, judging from our conversations afterwards.
If your idea of the perfect gay film involves near-naked gym bunnies looking for their next sex partner or drug high, do yourself a favor and skip Big Eden. If, however, you are interested in adult stories that explore the complex emotions that guide (and sometimes misguide) human relationships, you'll be in for a treat when you enter the world of Big Eden.
60 of 62 found the following review helpful:
What a nice surprise..Aug 23, 2002
By Michael T. Rognlien
I bought this movie on the recommendation of a friend and I'm really pleased that I bought it.
First of all, the plot is really unlike any other gay movie I've seen. It's not set in the city (NY, LA, SF etc) and has zero muscleboys in the cast, but it's one of the best-cast and acted movies in a long time.
A great date movie, for sure, but also an interesting view into what life could and will be like one day in the not-so-distant future when being gay is just another part of the cultural makeup of society.
The DVD has a lot of nice bonus material including information on the production, the beautiful location used for the film's setting, the actors and the evolution of the film from idea to celluloid.
I really can't recommend this movie enough - it's not earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination, but it has rich, well-developed characters, a beautiful setting, and a lot of heart and soul.
33 of 35 found the following review helpful:
Big Eden: Like No Place on EarthJan 31, 2003
Sort of a lite, gay Jane Austen novel set in the lush landscape of backwoods Montana, "Big Eden" is sweet, gentle, and warm enough to overcome its many rough edges and decidedly low aim. Successful New York artist Henry (schlebby Arye Gross) moves back to Montana to take care of his ailing grandfather, and begins of veritable marathon of romantic matches, mistakes, and misunderstandings. Hijinks ensue. It's all very silly, a little confusing, and highly engaging. It's no wonder festival audiences and DVD renters have responded so favorably
The major critical complaint about "Big Eden" seems to be that it isn't "realistic" enough--that is, it's a gay movie without bashing, AIDS, or self loathing. Ok, ok. Big Eden isn't an entirely real place. But I've never heard "Pretty Woman" criticized for not having enough cancer, or "Ghost" ridiculed for it's lack of wife beating. Perhaps those who see gay men and woman as essentially tragic figures may be disappointed by "Big Eden." But those of us who know our lives run the gamut from silly to sublime should enjoy our very own date movie moment.
15 of 15 found the following review helpful:
A big, beautiful, gentle treasureMay 22, 2005
By Penny Duff
Oh, that there were more gay movies like this one! It is a lovely, gentle story, one that flows and tugs at your heart. It's a movie that bears watching more than once. Oh, by the way, if you were looking for naked bodies and raw sex instead of an intelligent, gentle, beautiful movie, get something else. It doesn't need raw sex to make it an excellent gay movie!
15 of 15 found the following review helpful:
A Surprisingly Moving and Funny Film!Oct 12, 2002
By Katherine Johnson
The only reason I saw this movie was to see Eric Schweig. Prior to seeing it, I had no idea it was a gay film. It took me by surprise how touching the love story is. No matter how straight you are, as long as you are not homophobic, you will laugh, sigh, and get frustrated along with Henry and Pike. I personally no longer saw two guys in love, but rather two people in love. They're so adorable!
The community portrayed in the film is the ideal world where no one judges the other in his/her sexual orientation. Here, senior citizens, church going members, and macho cowboys all root for these two men to get together! On top of it, these two men are of different ethnic backgrounds (Caucasian and Native American). Can there possibly be a more tolerant and ideal society as this?
It's truly a beautiful film. Recommended for gay/lesbian people (naturally), people who enjoy "chick-flicks", people who are stressed in the city and need a "time-out" by watching a relaxing and touching movie, Eric Schweig fans,etc.
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