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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and heartbreaking!
If anyone ever wondered what the farming life is like, this documentary reveals how very difficult it can be to survive on a relatively small farm - in today's modern world of high tech farming. It is a gritty, backbreakingly hard life much of the time, waking up at dawn and falling into bed exhausted when all the chores are finally done and dinner has been eaten...
Published on January 6, 2006 by K. Corn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Slice of Life
When I saw this series on PBS I was transfixed, but when I watched the DVD I became aware of the artificiality of some of the scenes. I still think it is a testament to American farm families. All the family were hauntingly beautiful.
Published 8 months ago by Kexy Twosign


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and heartbreaking!, January 6, 2006
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
If anyone ever wondered what the farming life is like, this documentary reveals how very difficult it can be to survive on a relatively small farm - in today's modern world of high tech farming. It is a gritty, backbreakingly hard life much of the time, waking up at dawn and falling into bed exhausted when all the chores are finally done and dinner has been eaten.

The couple shown in this documentary hold very little back as their marriage is pushed to the brink by the stress of making ends meet, raise a family and just get by. I first saw it back in 1996 and am delighted to be able to purchase it (finally) on DVD.

But be forewarned- this is not an easy film to watch, although it is an honest one. In unflinching detail, the grim reality of trying to "make it" as a farmer is portrayed. There isn't an ounce of romanticism here, no attempt to portray farm life as an idyllic retreat from city life, especially given the ending of this film.

What DOES come across is the commitment to the land that those on family farms struggle to maintain, doggedly determined to try and hang on to their legacy.

I wonder what happened to the couple in this film and hope the DVD provides some extra detail about that. Even if it does not, the film is worth watching because we should ALL be asking ourselves why small farms are being nearly impossible to find these days. This film answers some of those questions.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most touching movies you will see, August 29, 2006
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
This documentary grips you immediately. Or rather, it is the love story that this filmmaker captured that grips you - a love story between two decent, hard-working people who confront impossible challenges together. It makes you think what hard work and sacrafice really are.

There is a little bit of foul language as they came to grips with certain problems, but I didn't hesitate to show it to our kids (8 and 13) because even the foul language seems like a restrained and dignified reaction to the situations they contend with.

The documentary was shot over the course of three years! This allowed the film maker to capture the true-life highs and lows (extraordinary moments and events) and it teaches subtle but deep lessons in the dignity of hard work and determination, and the value of family and love enduring it all.

It is natural to wonder what happened to these two people after the cameras stopped, and it's disappointing to some extent to hear (according to the PBS website) that their marriage did not last forever. But that after-story does not undermine the power of this realistic and unflinching examination of farming and love. That people and marriages can endure so much for any period of time is an extraordinary tale.

I highly recommend The Farmer's Wife.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic story of real life drama, February 27, 2007
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
This is the real 'Real World' documentary. The documentary shows true to life struggles of a young farm family trying to make it through rough times. The first time I watched this was on PBS when I was first married. I just purchased the dvd after something made me remember how much the story touched me. Watching it as a wife with plenty of life/marriage experiences I felt that I viewed the story from a different perspective. It's a great portrayal and I would love to know how the family is doing now, ten years later.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to watch again, but the extras could have been better, February 1, 2006
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M.C. (Spring Valley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
Since Amazon doesn't tell you, I will. This dvd's special features are: Interview with David & Nancy Sutherland, interview with the Buschkoetters, and Roger Welsch interview with Juanita Buschkoetter. I was so excited to read this on the back of the case when it arrived. I wanted to find out updates on the Buschkoetters (I've read on the internet that they've divorced). However, these interviews are from 1998 when The Farmer's Wife first aired! What a let down! I still am left wondering what happened to Juanita. Did she really get divorced? Did Darrel remain on the farm? This couple draws you in within minutes of watching this fantastic documentary. It's a shame that I stil have questions about their fate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Farmer's Wife, David Sutherland film PBS, December 5, 2007
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doubleduck (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
I first watched this on PBS about 3 or 4 years ago with my husband. We were just fascinated with it. Unfortunately we missed the last episode or two and did not see the end. I have been searching for a copy to purchase and just this last month found a copy at a reasonable price. We are starting at the beginning again and are anxious to see the end. This story is compelling. Darrell is a man that does not know the word slow. Everything he does is at full speed. Even when exhausted he keeps going. Juanita is an intelligent, hard working mom who does as much as she can for her children, even with limited resources. Their frugalness makes me feel very spoiled. We have had our two children ( ages 14 and 12) watch this so they might better appreciate a farmers life and also appreciate what we have. This couple faced such hardship that I am amazed that they stayed married. I have not been able to find any recent information about them in the 10 years since this was filmed. I hope they were able to sustain their marriage and keep their children in a loving family. If anyone has any current information about them, I would appreciate hearing about it or reading a post here.
I would highly recommend this to anyone. It will make most of us appreciate the hard work that many farmers must do and still be at the mercy of the weather, mother nature, and the market. I am anxious to see what other work David Sutherland has done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Real" Reality Show, March 9, 2010
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
A compassionate look at the struggles of a young farm family as they attempt to keep their Nebraska farm going in the face of seemingly unending obstacles. You will be amazed at the fortitiude and decency of this hardworking couple and their young daughters. Very candid and painfully hard to watch at times--a sympathetic and dramatic account of Middle America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pioneer Of "Reality Broadcasting" And The Telling Of A Remarkable Story, September 16, 2006
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
I first saw this film on PBS back in the late-1990's, before the current onslaught of reality TV had begun, and I recall it made me profoundly interested in the lives of this family and all that the five of them endured. Telling the story of a financially and maritally struggling Midwestern farm couple and their three young daughters, The Farmer's Wife begins as an exploration of the uphill battle America's farmers are facing in today's world, but it progressively, to the surprise of viewers and filmmakers alike, becomes much more. The Farmer's Wife is the story of good, hard-working people, of a marriage in crisis, of endurance, of hardships faced, and of the emotional highs and lows of some remarkable human beings living through changes to all they've previously known and held dear. It is an intimate portrait of Midwestern family farmers whose continued presence in the United States is endangered by our modern economy. It is a gripping insight into the private side of other peoples' existence that most of us never see. The Buschkoetter family were brave for having done this project a decade ago, and while I know in hindsight "what came next" the portion of their lives during the two years captured on film remains a touching testament to an admirable and extraordinary couple.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, February 18, 2011
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This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
Heartwarming, uplifting, emotional. At times there is love and at times there is conflict. From struggling to relief. A touching story of life's hard times and good times. It portrays how living can be so difficult and so satisfying at the same time. It touched my heart. It is an amazing story of a family deeply dedicated to saving a farm, and dealing with the emotions of relationships. The type of documentary that can be watched over and over. You will find yourself pulling for the family and hoping for the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as real as it gets..., February 8, 2012
This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
I watched this when it came out in the 90s.....at the time i was a young farmer going through some of the same things as they were....it was the hardest thing i ever watched...but folks this is real.....not some made for tv fake reality show....should be required watching for anyone thinking about a career in agriculture...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where there is life, there is hope!, November 16, 2013
This review is from: The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland (DVD)
The Buschkoetter family allowed a documentary crew into their home to follow them day and night for 3 years. Their struggles, transparency and moral codes are openly revealed in this dramatic documentary. One can only feel compassion, as they face the challenges of the elements, their equipment, their interfering family and commodity prices to keep their small farm going.

Juanita Buschkoetter must wrest the reins of the financial morass that her husband doesn't have the time or depth of knowledge to fix. This creates insecurity and rivalry initially between the couple as well as increased pressure from their extended family and their community.

Juanita's family doesn't think she should stay. They think Darryl is not worthy of her (at times the audience sees their point) and that she has talents beyond cleaning houses and being a farmer's wife. Juanita manages to work, be a mother of three young girls (3-8 y.o.), take care of their complicated finances and get an AA degree with honors during this period. Darryl evolves as well and his changes are increasing positive.

One can only admire this couple for facing so many obstacles with the tenacity and courage they display and their unwillingness not to throw in the towel; when nothing seems to be improving after they restructure their debt.

Having lived all over the country, I can say that they embody the strength of spirit common in the mid-western community better than many today. Their courage to share their story is quite unusual as most farmers are very independent, stoic individuals, who think that admitting any struggle is a sign of weak moral character.

One realizes that family farmer's still remain the unsung heroes of America.

I hope that one day there will be a follow-up to their story.
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The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland
The Farmer's Wife: A Film by David Sutherland by David Sutherland (DVD - 2006)
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