Autumn Hearts: A New Beginning
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Susan Sarandon plays Melanie, a 50-something year-old woman who lives in Quebec with her retired college professor husband, David [Christopher Plummer], son Benjamin and young grandson Timmy. Melanie is an emotionally-disturbed woman, a legacy from her traumatic childhood experiences during WW II. As a child, Melanie was sent to the transit camp Drancy in France, and never saw her parents again. She meets a young Irish boy, Christopher [Gabriel Byrne] and both youngsters are taken under the protective wings of an older young man, Jakob [Max Von Sydow]. The three form a life-long bond even after the end of the war.
Fast forward 35 years later - Melanie has invited Jakob to spend some time with her, and to her surprise, Christopher tags along too. Painful memories are stirred up - and things are made more awkward and difficult given that Melanie's husband David is resentful of the two visitors and jealous of Melanie's closeness to Christopher. The rest of the story deals with how the three survivors make peace with their past, especially Melanie and answers whether closure is something they can achieve.
The acting in this movie was top-notch. Susan Sarandon credibly portrays a survivor who is wracked by guilt [common amongst many survivors of the Holocaust] and who is extremely determined not to forget. Her pain is so palpable and yet frustrating because we can see how her pain and determination to live in the past has taken a toll on her family life.Read more ›
Melanie Winters (Susan Sarandon) lives on a picturesque farm in Canada with her retired university professor husband David (Christopher Plummer) and their grown son Benjamin (Roy Dupuis), an unexplained single father of his own son Timmy (Dakota Goyo) and caregiver for his physically ailing father and mentally fragile mother. Melanie lives in the past: as a child in 1942 she was interned in Drancy, an internment camp outside of Paris where she bonded with a young man Jakob Bronski and an Irish lad Christopher - taking on the responsibility of maintaining the written history of the camp at Jakob's request so that atrocities such as they were witnessing would never occur again ('Always remember'). At one point Jakob turned himself over to the Nazis to allow Melanie and Christopher to be released.
Now, years later, Melanie is still cataloging all of the atrocities in the world as they appear in the newspaper and continues to attempt to find Jakob. Jakob writes to her and soon is arriving in Canada as an elderly man (Max von Sydow), traveling with his surprise guest, the adult Christopher (Gabriel Byrne).Read more ›
There are so few chances to hear those unforgettable voices in the same film, yet two of the most prominent orators in Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow, get to exchange lines of pain, remorse and forgetting here. Supported with the cast of Gabriel Byrne, Susan Sarandon and Roy Dupois, all that is needed would be a powerful story and a rich backdrop to fill the screen; both are here.
The story jumps between 1980s Canada (in majestically filmed colors and pans) and 1941 France (shown in matted black and white flashbacks). Susan Sarandon plays a medicated woman still dealing with the pain of being a camp survivor from 1940s France, now living an obsessive life with her husband (Plummer). She manages to find her protector from the camp (Sydow) years later and invites him to her ranch. He surprisingly brings along her long lost love from their internment (played quietly by Byrne). The story plays out in a mix of flashbacks and the reliving of moments, edited flawlessly into the character's present day at the ranch.
There is so much more to write about in explaining the complexity of these people's lives, yet how simple everything seemed by the end. Even with the amount of angst, remorse and psychiatric damage, everything evolved perfectly into an amazing story and movie. This will definitely be on the recommendation list.
The DVD has a nice 15 minute making-of docu and a trailer. When you watch the behind the scenes footage on location, you will get an idea of how the camera work enhanced the Canadian landscape into that montage of colors.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a great movie about how people can get stuck in relationships and situations that may not be the best choices for them, and it is about healing with the help of others.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very thought provoking. Learned new things about this part of history.Published 2 months ago by Beki Reynolds
Somewhat boring. Slow moving film. Easy to lose interest. Had a few good moments.Published 3 months ago by Norma J. Montoya
Despite the terrific star power, off to a way-too-slow start that does not generate interest. Lots of stalling.Published 4 months ago by foxholo
Very slow moving movie for me. I've seen worse so it wasn't a total waste.Published 6 months ago by joyce gower