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Sweet Land - A Love Story (2007)

Elizabeth Reaser , Lois Smith , Ali Selim  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Reaser, Lois Smith, Patrick Heusinger, Stephen Pelinski, Tim Guinee
  • Directors: Ali Selim
  • Writers: Ali Selim, Will Weaver
  • Producers: Alan Cumming, Ali Selim, Ace Allgood, David Dancyger, Edward J. Driscoll
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P5FH26
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,622 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sweet Land - A Love Story" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Labor of Love: The Making of Sweet Land

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Adapted from a Will Weaver story, Ali Selim's Sweet Land is a truly sweet story about unlikely immigrant lovers whose struggle for integration into 1920's America earns them a work ethic more American than many of their narrow-minded neighbors. Set in rural Minnesota, the sentimental film focuses on tribulations that Scandinavian settlers experienced, with a cinematic serenity reminiscent of Terrence Malik's Days of Heaven. Norwegian farmer Olaf Torvik (Tim Guinee) invites a non-English speaking German siren, Inge Alltenburg (Elizabeth Reaser), to relocate and marry him, but discovers that neither the town's Lutheran pastor (John Heard) nor the local judge will marry a German into their community for fear of wartime German spies. Inge finds friendship in neighbors Frandsen (Alan Cumming) and his wife, Brownie (Alex Kingston), who disregarding local gossip, welcome her into their home. Finally, Inge proves herself, settling in so that Sweet Land's historical narrative is framed by Inge, fifty years later, speaking to her adult son about her husband's death and their plot of land. This multi-generational tale of social acceptance and land ownership is ultimately the story of America, though the regional specificity of Sweet Land will speak especially to those familiar with Midwestern culture. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) is a feisty German mail-order bride who has come to Minnesota to marry Olaf (Tim Guinee), a young Norwegian immigrant farmer of few words. But in a post-WWI, anti-German climate, the local minister (John Heard) openly forbids the marriage. Inge and Olaf fall in love despite the town's disapproval. But when the town banker (Ned Beatty) attempts to foreclose on the farm of his friend Frandsen (Alan Cumming), Olaf takes a stand...and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Ali Selim is a gifted artist and one that surely will continue to create magical films such as his masterpiece SWEET LAND in the coming years. Selim wrote the screenplay based on Will Weaver's perfect little short story 'A Gravestone Made of Wheat', found the perfect setting for his tale of the trials of immigrants entering America searching for the American Dream in the spacious grandeur of Minnesota, and selected a cast to bring life to his story that simply could not be better. This film DESERVED to be considered among the best at the time of awards.

Though the time of the story is 1920, the film opens much later in slow motion, only soft music comes from the soundtrack, yet the actors are mouthing words that make us realize we are witnessing the passing of someone important. When the characters begin to speak, the story of remembering what love and trials and experiences years ago were like, transporting us to a station house where we meet Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), a Norwegian/German girl who has come to America to marry a man she has never met, a man who will provide her with home, marriage, and a chance to start afresh. Her 'intended' is Olaf (Tim Guinee) who is shy and unsure of how to make Inge a part of his life: Inge's German background makes her suspect to the townsfolk who fear the course of Germany's power in WW I. Inge speaks no English but has been learning through a common phrase book. Olaf's friend Frandsen (a brilliant role for Alan Cumming), married to Brownie (Alex Kingston) with at least eight children already, helps Inge connect with Olaf. The intended marriage cannot take place with the minister (John Heard) because Inge can't speak English and because she is German...
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Story from America's Heartland June 20, 2007
Format:DVD
I often see romance movies with my wife and that will be the end of it, but this movie kept me coming back, I saw it 3 times (twice by myself) in the theater and would see it again if it was still showing, its that good, I can't imagine why this movie wasn't awarded "Best Picture" "Best Everything". There is a charming innocence about this film, that makes you want to live in yesteryear, and that's coming from a guy! Now I want to own it.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cinematic Gem That Deserves a Wider Audience March 8, 2007
Format:DVD
"Sweet Land" is the only movie I've ever watched twice at the movie theaters. It was just as entertaining the second time I saw it. I am of Irish descent, and when I moved to Minnesota a few years ago, I found myself surrounded by many people of Scandavian heritage. "Sweet Land" allowed me to traverse back to my neighbors' cultural antecedents. (It also gave me a greater appreciation for basic amenities like indoor plumbing.) The movie seemed to really capture the hardscrabble existence of immigrants who risked coming to America for a better, more independent life. It also showed the cultural sensibilities the Scandavians brought over with them. The characters and their life stories are very memorable. "Sweet Land" is truly charming movie that deserves a much wider distribution.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST ever December 22, 2008
Format:DVD
This movie is absolutely incredible. I had never heard of it until I checked it out at my local library, and I absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that I bought it.

This is a movie that gets deeper and richer each time you watch it. There are so many little details and nuances. The story is so beautifully simple, and the images are so rich that you almost feel like you are watching Inge and Olaf's story first hand. I feld like I was sitting across from Inge on her train ride to Minnesota. I could almost smell the prairie grass of their homestead.

I'm from North Dakota, and this movie created such a sense of nostalgia for me, a reminder of a truly better and simpler time. The musical score is hauntingly beautiful and really adds a lot to the film.

This movie brought me to tears at the beginning, the middle and the end. Overall, its one of the best movies I've ever seen, and I HIGHLY recommend it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Land April 20, 2007
Format:DVD
Sweet Land is a movie about a mail-order bride from Germany who comes to America during the time right after WWI. Obviously, the towspeople are a little leary about having a German there so soon after the US had just finished war with them. Anyway, it follows the bride and her soon-to-be groom during their first few months together.

The story itself is great. It's completely simple, but still excellent. I truly enjoyed it. I saw this movie because it was dubbed the new 'Days of Heaven'. But other than the early 1900s farm setting, I saw few similarities. The cinematography was very well done, but still much different than Malick's film. Overall, I would say it was strong in visuals. My biggest complaint about this film was the present-time bookends. The meat of the story was a complete and beautiful film all by itself. The first 5-10 minutes and the last 5-10 minutes should have been cut. They were cliche and really did not match the tone of the rest of the film. Had those parts not been included, this movie is a 10/10.

Sweet Land is one of the best films of 2006 and you will be glad you saw it. If possible, see it with a significant other. It's a very rare 'real' love story, and well worth a viewing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Film
This is a quiet, lovely film that is both a slow, gentle love story and the Midwestern/American society post-WWI. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Elizabeth A. Lenz
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and romantic
A wonderful story of true love and true romance. It was a very touching and beautiful film. If you love old fashioned love stories you will love this.
Published 11 days ago by tmcgant
5.0 out of 5 stars ...a MUST SEE!
This movie will make you smile, laugh...and cry. I've lost count of the number of times I have watched and enjoyed it. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Debra H. Douglass
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Movie
A great movie, it deserved more awards besides what it received. I would highly recommend it and will watch it again myself
Published 20 days ago by cathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice DVD
I bought this for my Mom to watch. She watched it and it worked
fine. She may watch it a couple more times before she
understands it. Happy with the purchase.
Published 23 days ago by Dennis
5.0 out of 5 stars Strengh of Love. What our ancestor's put up with to be American.
I saw the movie first, then read the short story. Usually the book is much better than than a movie take off. Both are great. However, the movie, has much more story to it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John W. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet movie
I rented this movie from the library, watched it twice, and just now ordered a copy from Amazon. As the other reviews state, there are many beautiful things about this movie: the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris S
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie!
From the beginning to the end of this movie, I was entranced by the story of this couple. She was a mail order bride, he was a bachelor farmer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Do the right thing
Wonderful story of determination, sacrifice and doing what is right. Also historical view into the 1920's life on the farm. Starts off different, but stick with it!
Published 2 months ago by Penny Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
The movie is great. It was filmed in the town I live in so it was fun to see familiar sights and people I know in the film. I enjoyed the 1920 part the best.
Published 2 months ago by Steve E 1
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