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Rails and Ties

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden give soaring performances in Rails & Ties, director Alison Eastwood’s moving tale of people in crisis and emotions at the brink. Bacon plays Tom Stark, a train engineer unable to face his wife’s (Harden) illness. Then a terrifying railway collision leaves a little boy orphaned. Tom takes the boy into his home and – step by step, strength by strength – learns how to bond with the wife he adores by opening his heart to a boy who needs the security of a devoted family.

Alison Eastwood (Clint's daughter) makes an impressive directorial debut with the moving Rails & Ties, an unusual drama about the redemption of three tragic characters through a makeshift family. Kevin Bacon stars as Tom, a locomotive engineer whose distraction over his wife’s terminal cancer brings doubts about his judgment when he runs into a suicidal woman who parks her car on train tracks. Forced to take time off, Tom confronts his growing distance from Megan (Marcia Gay Harden), who has little time left and wants him, despite his resistance, to be with her. Everything changes when Davey (Miles Heizer), the young son of the dead woman, flees from an abusive foster home and finds his way to Tom, where a confrontation leads to a desperate connection between the boy and childless Megan and Tom. Eastwood’s handsome and tender film explores the reawakening of hope under the shadow of death, without slipping into bathos, distracting viewers with the obvious implausibility of the situation, or allowing attention to drift during one or two of screenwriter Micky Levy’s weaker scenes. Harden and Bacon (whose increasingly grizzled look and laconic performance here recall the elder Eastwood) are very good as would-be parents who find love again at the 11th hour. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Miles Heizer, Marin Hinkle, Eugene Byrd
  • Directors: Alison Eastwood
  • Writers: Micky Levy
  • Producers: Barrett Stuart, Peer J. Oppenheimer, Robert Lorenz, Tim Moore
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 17, 2008
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00133KFH6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,374 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rails and Ties" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Laurel M. DiGangi on May 12, 2008
Format: DVD
RAILS AND TIES is a quiet, well-crafted film that captures the complicated, conflicting emotions people undergo when confronted with terminal cancer. But it's no disease-of-the-week weeper. Instead, it's a gutsy tale of a strong woman (Marcia Gay Harden) who must reassess her life after medical science has ultimately failed her. Her anguished husband (Kevin Bacon) buries himself in his job as a railroad conductor--until a suicidal woman parks her car in front of his oncoming train. Forced to take a leave of absence while the incident is being investigated, Bacon's character must now stay at home and confront his wife's illness.

The main thrust of the story concerns the couple's encounter with the suicide victim's preteen son (Miles Heizer) with whom they develop a parental bond. Although this twist creates new conflicts for the couple, it rekindles their lost relationship--as well as drives the film forward towards its life-affirming conclusion.

The film's performances are superb, and Alison Eastwood's direction is graceful and sublime. Micky Levy's screenplay creates characters that are truly believable and 3-dimensional, and brings us into their world so deeply that we don't want to leave.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LuvsLabs09 on June 22, 2008
Format: DVD
I really liked this movie. I had never heard of it. I thought the acting was well done. Yes, the movie is sad, but it works. The story comes together nicely. Defnitely is worth watching.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 22, 2008
Format: DVD
RAILS & TIES, under the guidance of first time director Alison Eastwood, tackles an implausible subject of multiple tragedies resulting in repairing personal breaks and with the able assistance of a groups of excellent actors makes a finely tune, sensitive study of little lives struggling against major odds. It is well conceived, well written (Micky Levy), well acted and sincerely moving.

Tom Stark (Kevin Bacon) is a train engineer, married to his job as well as being married to his nurse wife Megan (Marcia Gay Harden) who is facing the ugly fact that her breast cancer is terminal. The cancer has spread beyond Megan's body into the tenuous space that keeps a marriage glued: Megan attempts to hide her desperate need for emotional support by continuing to work as a nurse and Tom takes on extra train runs to avoid the reality that face him at home. The other side of the story is equally sad: young Davey Danner (Miles Heizer) cares of his psychologically shattered mother (Bonnie Root) and unknowingly accompanies her on a jaunt to 'see the train' - a ploy well planned by the suicidal mother to drive in front of an oncoming train to end her life along with Davey's. The conductor of the train is of course Tom Stark, and when Tom first sees the car on the tracks, he keeps to company policy that recommends gradual slowing rather than the danger of an abrupt stop: the result is the death of Davey's mother but Davey escapes the crash while trying to pull his mother from the car. The tragedies mount: Davey is left homeless, being placed in a foster home run by the cruel 'mom' (Margo Martindale) only to escape to find the 'killer' of his mother; Tom is put on leave for the incident; Megan gets the final word that she has very little time left and is ready to leave the distant Tom.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Kuehl VINE VOICE on June 15, 2008
Format: DVD
A roller coaster of a film that does not stray away from the difficult movie topics of suicide and cancer. This will most likely be a must see for any train people (both scale models and in passenger size). I can see the story has already been laid out in the other reviews, boring some and impressing others so I will stick with a production review.

Kevin Bacon portrays hidden emotional tangents as well as always, he looked similar to his character from Woodsman (an often skipped but worthy film). His trademark walk/swagger shows through a couple of times but his performance was believable and in the end, convincing since he had to go from being emotionally stunted to a single parent in one week. Marcia Gay Harden was outstanding and gave her best performance to date as a dying, childless woman in a defunct marriage who had always yearned for a child. The child actor (Heizer) gave his first big performance in film here, and he does not disappoint. The roles of being caregiver to his suicidal mom, to a grieving homeless kid, to the acceptance of the man who drove the train that killed her, could not have been easy. He stumbles a few times but has the early workings and innocent face of a young River Phoenix.

The deleted scenes were so relevant to back story and the kid's time being homeless, they should have been left in just to give something to the lead characters past and present dilemmas. The two actors (in these deleted parts) gave wonderful performances but appeared nowhere else in the film; I cannot even find their credits listed.

At times, customers ask for a film that will uplift them and not make them cry, this film will not be the one I hand them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spoonman42 on May 22, 2008
Format: DVD
To me this is a movie that will pull at your heart strings (as the saying goes). It's the story of four peoples lives that are changed by circumstances. One part of the story is to do with breast cancer, the other with depression. Both stories intertwine with each other through a bizare accident. You could also say that it is a story of two women who must cope with personal tradgety, and how they each deal with it. The acting is good but certainly not great other than the scenes that involve Miles Heizer (David), the pre-teen son of one of the women. I found that his acting was very well done, especially in four different scenes where he had to act with different and somewhat difficult emotions. For this, I think he should be commended. Marcia Gay Harden I thought did a very good job with her part in this movie, as a woman who has to deal with breast cancer which has become terminal. Some of her scenes are very realistic, having known people close to me who have suffered with this terrbile desease. Lastly there is Kevin Bacon, and I could leave it at that. I've liked Kevin Bacon over the years, but he is not what you would call, a great actor, and does a mediocor job in this move.

The plot moves around a bit, with scenes that are predictable, and some of the story a bit unbelievable, especially in todays society. Set back 20 years, you might see something like this happen, but not today.

All in all, I enjoyed the story, but you have to be a person who doesn't mind a sad story, that has a spurts of happiness intertwines throughout the movie, and a somewhat happy ending.
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