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Big Eden

A movie directed by Thomas Bezucha

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Simply Wonderful

  • Jan 14, 2007

Simply Wonderful

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

Big Eden is a small fictional town somewhere in northwestern Montana in the heart of cowboy and lumber country. Henry Hart, an artist in New York who is successful reruns to Big Eden where he grew up. Once he is back, he must come to terms with his former relationship with Dean Stewart, who was his best friend in high school and the object of his love (although never fulfilled). Henry has come home to care for his ill grandmother but he also wants to bring some closure to himself about Dean. He has been pining for him. Suddenly a new character enters the picture, Pike Dexter, a Native American and owner of the general store in Big Eden who falls in love with Henry. The citizens of the town attempt to bring Pike and Henry together but can Henry forget Dean and allow himself to love someone else?
"Big Eden" is a film in which gay men are represented as just men--al shapes, all sizes and even over thirty. They are just regular guys, not drag queens or suicidal manic depressives, no circuit boys and no stereotypes (and Cher is not on the soundtrack).
The movie is Based upon a "what if" assumption--no bigotry, no homophobia, no self hatred. Self discovery is the focus and herein is the change from so many other gay films. The film maintains that if hate and bigotry do not exist, then we can all live and love together.
When Henry realizes that his feelings for Dean were illuminated by the fact that they were not in contact and that distance made his love thatmuchstronger.H also realized that he wanted what he could not have. Instead of being hurt by his self realization of lost love, he is enlightened when he realizes there are alternatives. As "Big Eden" defies al of the clich├ęs of the typical gay films and attempts to present a wholesome and real portrayal of gays, we see walls come tumbling down and hope that this movie opens doors for others to follow. We have a values system in this movie.
Here is a gay themed movie without the threat of AIDS, where there is no fag bashing, with no beautiful bodies. It is just quite simply a look at the rest of us. Here is a movie we can actually call our own e3specially for those of us over thirty.
The plot itself is simple. The only thing that seemed a bit out of the ordinary is that we are asked to believe that in Marlboro Country that we are loved an unconditionally accepted.
Before we look at the cast, let me comment on the technical aspects of the film. The photography is stunning and even though simple; the plot is realistic and engaging. It is a beautiful story about self acceptance as an adult and how to navigate family relationships. The movie is about friends and family and hope.
Arye Gross has been under used by movies until now and in "Big Eden" he shows us what he can do and does it well. He is a regular guy and he plays Henry just that way.Tim DeKay as Dean is sympathetic and he wears his part so well that there are times you just want to slap him around. And there is Louise Fletcher who so wonderfully shows us how to be a good person with a good heart and who wants to see that
someone be made very happy. But it is Eric Schweig who owns this movie. As Pike he steals the film and our hearts.
"Big Eden" is quite simply, simply wonderful.

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More Big Eden (2000 movie) reviews
review by . January 20, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: good show     Cons: none     The Bottom Line: ..        This was just a flat out treat. Henry Hart is an artist living in New York about to have his first one man show. The day before he gets a call from back home in Big Eden, Montana, Grandpa Sam has fallen off a roof and needs him at his side. An orphan, Henry had been raised by Grandpa and Grandma, who had already passed. Naturally he doesn’t hesitate to return to …
review by . August 22, 2002
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 …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #208
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie


This "big country" romance involves an emotionally stilted Manhattan artist named Henry (Ayre Gross) who returns to his Montana hometown of Big Eden when his grandfather takes ill. Drama instantly arises as Henry learns the boyhood best friend (Tim DeKay) on whom he's fostered a twenty-year-long unrequited crush, has also returned to Big Eden and is anxious to resume their friendship. Henry also comes into contact with Dexter (Eric Schweig), the Native American proprietor of a local general store. Quiet and withdrawn, Dexter finds himself attracted to Henry but expresses his interest solely through a progressively more elaborate series of home-cooked meals. It is interesting that though they are surrounded with love and support by the liberal locals, these gay men are still blocked from romantic fulfillment by their own doubts and fears. The supporting cast includes residents of Montana's Glacier Park region where the film was shot, and Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NES...
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Director: Thomas Bezucha
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Thomas Bezucha
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2002
Runtime: 1hr 59min
Studio: Wolfe Video
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