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Cross Creek

4.6 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews

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(Feb 19, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In 1928, frustrated newspaper reporter Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen) leaves her husband and career and moves to an isolated orange grove in the Florida bayou to concentrate on writing fiction. But here is this strange and untamed land, Marjorie will find her life changed forever by a devoted servant (Alfre Woodard) who becomes her friend, a local businessman (Peter Coyote) who becomes her lover and the backwoods father (Rip Torn) and his young daughter (Dana Hill) who become her greatest inspiration. Cross Creek is based on the best-selling memoirs of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Yearling. Directed by the legendary Martin Ritt (Sounder, Norma Rae), the film became the sensation of the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and remains one of the most powerful portraits ever of a writer's search for fulfillment as well as the remarkable story of one woman's bold struggle for independence.

Special Features

  • Cross Creek: A Look Back With Mary Steenburgen - an all new 17 minute featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Mary Steenburgen, Rip Torn, Peter Coyote, Dana Hill, Alfre Woodard
  • Directors: Martin Ritt
  • Writers: Dalene Young, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  • Producers: Martin Ritt, Robert B. Radnitz, Terence Nelson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005R242
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cross Creek" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rozanne Mckinney on September 30, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Mary Steenbergen's portrayal of writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is very believable - she's independent and a little stand-offish, but comes to care for her backwoods (and often eccentric) neighbors at Cross Creek as she adjusts to country life in the 1920's. Rip Torn is entertaining and touching as her sometimes-inebriated friend and neighbor Marsh Turner, and Peter Coyote is a charming friend and suitor. The movie is shot on location near Cross Creek, which enhances this interpretation of her 1941 bestselling book of the same name.
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Cross Creek is the story of Marjorie Rawlings, the author of the Yearling. Set in a backwoods community in Florida in the 1920s, Ms. Rawlings sets off to write the perfect gothic romance and become a published author. She arrives at her recently purchased property in a broken down automobile to find her house is nothing more than a run down shack and her orange grove completely grown over from neglect. The conflict in the movie arises from her strong willed independence and the need to become part of the community at Cross Creek in order to survive. The characters that are part of that community and the actors and actresses that portray them is precisely what makes this film one of the best dramas ever made. The screenplay is strong, the character development is rich, and the screenplay and story line is completely convincing.
Mary Steenburgen performs the lead role with elegance and a vitality rarely found in roles like this. She has more charm than Kate Hepburn, and she manages to be so believable because she can navigate the feistiness, fear, anger, frustration, sadness, and humor of Ms. Rawlings and her adventures at Cross Creek without missing a beat. Peter Coyote plays Mr. Norton Baskin, a local innkeeper seeking her attention. Alfre Woodard brilliantly plays Geechie, her maid and manages to steal a few scenes in the process. But the two supporting performances that stand out are those of Rip Torn and Dana Hill. Torn and Hill are father and daughter from a dirt poor family try to scrap a living on the creek. They befriend Rawlings, and what results is the real life inspiration for the Yearling.
I believe this film was nominated for four Academy Award Nominations - with three acting nominations - one each for Rip Torn, Alfre Woodard, and Steenburgen.
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When was the last time you felt the hairs stand up on your arms as you watched a film? This radiant, measured drama, with a stubborn, diffident and magnetic performance by Mary Steenburgen, does it for me every time. Telling the story of writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her sojurn in rural Florida in the 20's, it paints (and for once "paints" is the right verb) an eloquent portrait of the artist-as-not-always-likeable person, and also conveys an overwhleming sense of place and community. Martin Ritt's great feeling for ordinary people breathes extraordinary life into this material, and the location settings and photography are superb. Also superb are the supporting performances, including the acclaimed pairing of Rip Torn and the late, astonishing child actor Dana Hill as father and daughter. But my personal favorite is Alfre Woodard's all-out, headlong portrayal of Geechee, Rawling's devoted, wild woman housekeeper. This is the only film I know that conveys a real sense of the writer's life, and without pretense at that. As for the raising of the hairs, there is nothing else in film to compare with the final lyrical montage that concludes the picture. As Steenburgen speaks words from the text of Rawling's original "Cross Creek," Ritt gives us image after ravishing image of Cross Creek and environs. Once seen, you will never forget it. The DVD is beautifully produced. A treasure.
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Cross Creek is a film of gentle beauty and one of the most refreshing portraits of a writer ever put on celluloid. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was one of America's greatest writers, her stories serialized in The Saturday Evening Post, and her memoir, Cross Creek, one of the loveliest evocations of a place and time ever found in American letters. She is much too often dismissed nowadays as too Southern and too sentimental. This is director Martin Ritt's apology for that notion.

Mary Steenburgen captures Rawlings in fine fashion. As the memoir begins, in 1928, she is a writer unhappy with her life in society and the husband from whom she has grown apart. Max Perkins (Malcolm McDowell), her editor, keeps rejecting her gothic romances, so she purchases a run down orange grove in Florida and, after filing for divorce, begins a new life in Cross Creek. What she discovers in this beautiful but harsh place will change who she is as both a person and a writer.

Director Ritt stunningly captures the beauty of Cross Creek and the few people who live there. It is here that Rawlings meets her future husband Norton Bascomb (Peter Coyote) and everyone else who would inspire her great novels. Rawlings slowly becomes a part of Cross Creek as she cares for her orange groves and keeps writing. Her letters to Perkins are better than her romance novels he keeps rejecting and the people of Cross Creek begin to take more and more prominence in her work.

Rip Torn gives a memorable performance as Marsh Turner, and a young Dana Hill is unforgettable as Ellie May, the apple of his eye holding tightly to the last of her youthful dreams in the form of her fawn, Flag. They would be the inspiration for The Yearling.
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