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Bastard out of Carolina (1996)

Jennifer Jason Leigh , Ron Eldard , Anjelica Huston  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ron Eldard, Glenne Headly, Lyle Lovett, Jena Malone
  • Directors: Anjelica Huston
  • Writers: Anne Meredith, Dorothy Allison
  • Producers: Amanda DiGiulio, Gary Hoffman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber/Wellspring
  • DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1572526807
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bastard out of Carolina" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In post-WWII South Carolina, a young woman named Anney gives birth to an illegitimate child, nicknamed Bone. A few years later, Anney marries the seemingly decent Glen, who does not get along with Bone. Annie's miscarriage of a boy enrages her husband, who, behind his wife's back, begins to physically abuse Bone on a regular basis. After Anney discovers what her husband has been doing, she leaves Glen. But her need for a man's love eventually compels her to return to Glen, setting the stage for a heinous incident between Glen and his stepdaughter. As a result, a rift forms between mother and daughter -- that may never be healed. A made-for-cable adaptation of Dorothy Allison's best-selling novel. Anjelica Huston makes her directorial debut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that will haunt you and rob you of smiles March 23, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This 1996 Showtime film is set in rural South Carolina in the 1950s. It stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as a young unwed mother whose loves her young daughter, played by Jena Malone, but yet is incapable from protecting her from an abusive stepfather, played by Ron Eldard. Directed by Anjelica Huston, it brought out the best of all the actors and kept me glued to the screen in spite of the depressing story. Over and over again, we witness the senseless physical abuse by the father, and the young girl's stoic acceptance of it all. It was good that there were enough aunts and uncles in her extended loving family to help out, but her life is a history of short reprieves with various aunts and uncles, only to be picked up by her mother and brought back again to her house of torture. Yes, this is fiction, but we all know that these things exist. The director was wise though to also develop the characters of the mother and stepfather; we understand who they are and how they got that way, even as we despise what they are doing. The stepfather is out of control and the mother cannot bring herself to leave him, but it is the young girl who must suffer the most. It's a haunting story and, like life itself, there are no easy answers.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN OUTSTANDING FILM ON AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT June 13, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Anjelica Huston's directorial debut is a stunning one. This film, based with loving care on Dorothy Allison's fine novel by screenwriter Anne Meredith, tells the story of a pre-teen girl growing up under horrific family surroundings in the 1950s American South.
Bone Boatwright, played with astounding sensitivity and guts by young actor Jena Malone, is subjected to unconscionable brutality and sexual abuse by her stapfather. Her mother, portrayed here by Jennifer Jason Leigh, is in deep denial of what is happening to her child, unable or unwilling to see what is occuring under her roof -- partly afraid of losing her husband, partly due to psychological trauma she most likely received when she was a child. This pattern of behavior is usually circular in nature -- victims many times become perpetrators or enablers when they become adults. Only intensive counseling and a deep determination on the part of the survivor can break this horrible chain.
Jena Malone turns in the performance of a lifetime -- and from one so young! If she can do this level of work at this age, what will she be capable of as her career continues? The entire cast is well-chosen -- this was a project about which they obviously cared very deeply. The performances they give here attest to that.
Meredith's screenplay is excellent -- very true to Allison's novel. Some parts were necessarily left out for considerations of film length -- the important thing is that Meredith was intelligent and respectful enough of Allison's work that she wisely chose not to add any elements on her own. Too many screenwriters make that mistake -- it's refreshing to see such a quality screenplay for such an important work as this.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and compelling look at child abuse April 16, 2005
Of all the movie and television pieces depicting child abuse that I have ever seen, this movie provides the most honest view of child abuse, and it does so through the haunting eyes of the child herself, expertly played by Jena Malone. Other movies or television shows merely allude to the horrific details of child abuse, cutting away at the very moments the worst of the crimes take place, leaving the details to the "imagination" of the viewer, or alternatively, allowing the viewer to escape them. That a number of reviewers think this movie too graphic or stomach-turning is precisely the POINT of the movie. What happens to Bone makes you want to avert your eye, look the other way . . . leave the room. You care about her, but you just don't want to KNOW so intimately what has happened to make her eyes so chillingly pained. One of the worst realities of child molestation, rape and abuse is that, very often, adults around the child are aware of the situation, but choose to look away, unable to deal with what has happened in their own families. They may confront the abuser to get him to stop, but in the end, they may not step in and take final steps, public steps, to stop the abuse. Bone's family members-- from her pathetic mother to her comparably strong aunts and uncles -- are all aware of what has happened to Bone. Her uncles beat her stepfather badly after learning of the abuse, but in the end, not a single family member makes the necessary reports to physicians and police officers, even when directly asked about the abuse by authorities. While the other family members eventually seem to loathe the mother as much as the viewer does, they continue to make excuses for her, as family members in abusive families sometimes do. Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good but sad April 19, 2006
A great, but also sad movie... It's a movie about a poor southern girl that doesn't have a so happy childhood. Her mother has problems choosing men and marries up with a man that ends up being the worst of all. He sexually abuses Bone (Played by Jena Malone) for a long period of time. Some out of frustration over his failure as a father, a husband, and a man that can't live up to his own fathers expectations... But mostly do to his sick and twisted state of mind.

It's a very depressing movie that doesn't really sugarcoat anything... The acting is OSCAR worthy and it's a well shot movie other than at times being alittle to stereotypical of the southern family. It's not really meant to watch over and over again.. Watching it once should be enough for most.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome movie...
Published 13 days ago by E. Guzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie about abuse
Excellent movie about abuse, not for the faint of heart. I use this as a teaching tool as I am a licensed social worker.
Published 1 month ago by Ruth Yu
4.0 out of 5 stars Red Neck life
Good look at red neck life. Sick story , probably base an many true similar situations on incest
Published 2 months ago by Cosmo Kramer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good and fast
Published 2 months ago by Jim Hartzell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie for some adults, parts eliminated for others,
Published 2 months ago by no public name please
5.0 out of 5 stars Child abuse-Why let it be?
This movie is a classic example of abuses going on to this day and should be used to bring abuses to light
Published 2 months ago by Texas Waterhauler
5.0 out of 5 stars A Family affair!
A true story based on a best seller. An account of the bond of love, loyalty, and "Hill People" style justice.
Published 3 months ago by Richard Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Reba Robinson
Been waiting to find this movie it was a good price.
Published 3 months ago by Reba Robinson
1.0 out of 5 stars Bastard Out of Carolina
This book was basic in terms of helping me envision Child Sexual Abuse and the long-termed effects it had on One American girls, but I understand that she is just one of three... Read more
Published 4 months ago by William A. James
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Favorite
This movie is one I enjoyed in the past on VHS format and have had trouble finding it on DVD at a good price. Read more
Published 7 months ago by SewaneeGirl
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Because it is an Out of Production DVD title, meaning you can no longer purchase this DVD by any type of regular ordering,stores do not have it in stock, only through 3rd party sellers can you know obtain this scarce and very popular DVD Classic. Hope this info opens up your ignorant mindset... Read More
Mar 29, 2010 by Billy The Count Von Yinga |  See all 2 posts
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