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Off the Map

136 customer reviews

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(Aug 09, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bo (Valentina de Angelis) is eleven years old and lives in a remote desert area of New Mexico with her mother (Joan Allen), a free spirit who tends to the garden in the nude, and her father (Sam Elliott), who is losing a battle with his inner demons. One day they receive a visit from an IRS agent (Jim True-Frost) who is there to audit the family even though they make a very modest income. Realizing the simple yet profound way that Bo and her family are living, the IRS agent abandons his work tolive with the family and surrender to the mystique of the desert landscape. Eventually he becomes the catalyst for major changes and discoveries by every member of the family. OFF THE MAP is a story of self-discovery that reveals unexpected moments of grace and the unpredictable enduring nature of love.

Off the Map avoids conventional drama (hardly any event leads to an outcome you could expect) but the lean, sharp dialogue and superb performances make this movie a rich, human comedy. A young girl named Bo, living in the New Mexico desert, rebels against her bohemian parents by reading Forbes magazine and applying for credit cards. Her father Charley (Sam Elliott, Tombstone) has sunk deep into a paralyzing depression; her resilient, industrious mother Arlene (Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger) alternates between gently supporting Charley and railing against his zombie-like state. Into this off-balance family comes a tax auditor (Jim True-Frost, Singles), who--after being stung by a bee and lapsing into a sudden fever--becomes an accidental catalyst for change. In her movie debut as Bo, Valentina de Angelis gives a wonderful performance, head and shoulders above most actors her age. Campbell Scott's direction, as with his first film Big Night, is warm but not sappy; he has a gift for letting a story wander without it ever getting lost. The New Mexico landscape glows in the sun and helps give Off the Map a quiet but mysterious vision of life. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Allen, J. D. Hawkins, Amy Brenneman, Valentina De Angelis, Sam Elliott
  • Directors: Campbell Scott
  • Producers: Campbell Scott, George VanBuskirk
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 9, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009S4J1O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,384 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Off the Map" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Traveler on August 25, 2005
Format: DVD
"Off the Map" reminded me a bit of "Lost in Translation." The stories are completely different, of course. But there is a similarity in tone and texture. Both movies are more interested in showing the audience how their characters change and evolve than in advancing a traditional plot with a conflict and resolution. Some people who disliked "Lost" might like "Off the Map." However, I'm almost certain that anyone who did like "Lost" will find this movie as equally enjoyable.

The plot of this movie has been written about several times here so I won't repeat most of it. Briefly, it's about a family of three, two parents and a young girl, who live in a secluded house in New Mexico (no running water, no electricity) and live on less than $5000 a year, who are visited by a young inexperienced IRS agent. The story is about how they all change as their lives intertwine in the midst of the beauty of the New Mexico high desert.

New Mexico in itself is a character in this movie. I briefly lived in Santa Fe and I completely related to the IRS agent's feeling of awe and inspiration. Unlike some other viewers, however, I felt that the movie failed to convey some of the majesty of the region. In one of the extras on the DVD the producers talked about how they didn't want to make the scenery "too beautiful," as if it were some form of tourism porno. Perhaps the problem is that I saw the movie on the small screen and not the theater because it seemed to me that they went too far in the other direction. I have stood in the desert, like the IRS agent, and felt overwhelmed and inspired. I understood the character's reaction, but didn't really see why he was reacting the way he did within the context of what they were showing in the movie.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross on July 29, 2008
Format: DVD
The gentle rhythm of the movie is a gesture that penetrates the mysterious glow of nature with intense wisdom. I cannot recommend this movie enough. Director Campbell Scott accentuates the poetry of nature through a stark depiction of a land stripped of human adulteration. The movie is an adaptation of Joan Ackerman's play that centers on the isolated Groden family, Arlene (Joan Allen), Charley (Sam Elliott), and their precocious daughter Bo (Valentina de Angelis) who live in a state of depressed civilization, an abode that is under a spell of an involuted economy where money is but an afterthought and nature the true protagonist. The Groden family has no phone, no running water, no tv, and no neighbors aside from coyotes and bears, both of which end up dead in a ritual of nature that will have you transcend the usual materialist self-serving appropriation of the symbiotic aggregates of life. Survival is more of an internal issue for the family rather than an economic one. Civilization seems to have been dismissed in favor of a love for their landscape and the appeal of a spiritual dynamism that has yet to be "put on the map" by the commercial prints of the "world".
One day a hapless IRS agent, William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost), arrives at their house for an auditing, issued by the government, for the Grodens had not filed in seven years. A Massachusetts native who has transfer to Albaquerque and adopted a new profession, which has buried him deeper into the symptoms that distinguish a cog in the wheel of our civilized machine. The agent will become enchanted with the lifestyle, the landscape and the bewitching simplicity that nestles the Grodens everyday existence.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 16, 2005
Format: DVD
Charley (Sam Elliot) and Arlene (Joan Allen) live in a small home out in the middle-of-nowhere (New Mexico) with their twelve year old daughter Bo (Valentina De Angelis). Pennyless, they survive by trading what they grow in the garden for whatever essentials they need. It's a quiet, simple and relatively happy life for the Grodin's until Charley unexpectedly falls into a deep, prolonged depression. Now lost somewhere in his own inner world he has become almost immobile, uncommunicative and does little else but cry and drink water to replenish his bodily fluids.

Going bad to worse an IRS agent named William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost) appears on their doorstep to audit the Grodin's who haven't filed a tax return in six years. William is immediately bitten by a bee and has an allergic reaction, forcing him to remain with the Grodin's until he's feeling better. When he recovers he appears somehow different than he was upon arrival. Was it the bee sting, the Grodin's bohemian lifestyle or the enchanted New Mexico landscape that has brought about this profound change in their unexpected guest? William has discovered that "New Mexico is a very powerful place."

The film moves at a very slow, protracted pace in tune with the directorial objective of establishing the meaninglessness of time when living "off the map" and free of the constraints of jobs, schedules and responsibilities. If you're not prepared to give your full attention to the film from the beginning you are likely to quickly lose interest, but if you give yourself over to the experience and allow the New Mexico desert to envelope you a multi-faceted gem of a story awaits.

Marvelous performances by all, but the real star of this film is little Valentina De Angelis. She's definitely destined for greatness.
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