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Adapted by author Richard Russo from his 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, EMPIRE FALLS is a portrait of the gritty drama and human comedy that make up everyday life in blue-collar America. On a daily basis, goodhearted restaurant manager Miles Roby (Ed Harris "Glengarry Glen Ross") tries to keep his Empire Grill going, even as the wealthy and powerful Mrs. Whiting(Joanne Woodward "Philadelphia"), makes life difficult for him. If that wasn't enough, Miles has to keep tabs on his scoundrel of a dad, Max (Paul Newman "The Color of Money") who is always looking for trouble. But, Miles has something much bigger than just restaurant receipts and a cantankerous father on his mind-he can't shake the ghosts of his past that keep his fate inevitably connected to Empire Falls.]]>
The goal of Russo and director Fred Schepisi seems to have been fidelity to the novel, which gives the film a pleasingly relaxed pace but also a somewhat literal-minded binding. Even that doesn't explain the general lack of tautness, or why so much of the dialogue has an awkward fit in actors' mouths. Harris and Newman, of course, are younger and older versions of American monuments, and their sheer presence goes a long way toward making the picture work (for the premium Newman-Russo match, see Robert Benton's sublime film of Nobody's Fool). Most of the twists in the final reels are genuinely affecting, and the movie has the courage to end on a mild note rather than strain to tie everything up. It's a fitting finale for an unassuming enterprise. --Robert Horton
Top Customer Reviews
Empire Falls is a small town set in New England where life is simple and everyone knows everybody. But for Miles Roby, a man who has been working in the same grill for most of his life, there's something missing. He feels that Mrs. Whiting who owns the grill has it in for him and he doesn't seen anything extraordinary happening in his life. He's been through a divorce and his ex-wife Janine is about to get remarried something his daughter Tick doesn't want to happen at all. Miles also has to put up with his senile father Max who thinks everyone has it in for him.
Miles frequently has flashback of his childhood when his mother was still alive and he tries to remember Charlie Mayne who he hates but he can't really figure out what happened to him. His daughter Tick is also trying to connect with a tortured boy who she tries to help but realizes he's beyond her saving. Miles also struggles with the feelings that Mrs. Whiting's handicapped daughter Cindy has for him. Miles is just a guy who doesn't think that he should be spending the rest of his life flipping burgers at the same old grill and he wants more with his life.
Empire Falls is driven by an all star cast of Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Newman, Aidan Quinn, Dennis Farina, Joanne Woodward, and so many more. It is a heartwarming adventure and it is a must see.
The first was the fact that it was based upon Richard Russo's award-winning book of the same name. The second was that Russo himself wrote the adapted screenplay. The third was the incredible, all-star cast; and the fourth was that it was an HBO production. Each of these elements contributes to a mini-series now available on DVD and one that is not to be missed.
Let's start with the story. No one, absolutely no one, captures small town America the way Richard Russo does. Unlike some writers whose only real acquaintance with this setting seems to be either a brief glimpse from the Interstate or, worse, some other Hollywood writer's impression, Russo writes as though he actually spent years in the former mill towns, sitting at the diner, the tavern, or the doughnut shop soaking in the lost dreams and dead-end futures that haunt many of the residents of these communities. But unlike writers who see only despair in such a setting, Russo captures -but never makes light of- the small victories that the locals do grab onto to make life worth living. Odd as it may seem to the Sacks Fifth Avenue set, it IS possible to have a fulfilling life without ever owning a Gucci...and Russo is the master of introducing audiences to such lives. It is the audience's further fortune to have Russo acting here as his own screenwriter. The tweaks, cuts and short cuts necessary to make a novel into a workable screen presentation were thereby handled lovingly by their creator. He did not leave in too much, he did cut too much. True, the mini-series format gave him extra room to work, but he did the most with it and the audience is the clear beneficiary.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those who didn't see 5 stars, well, only time, wisdom, a soul, not being the center of the universe, a mind, may fix your complete lack insight and understanding. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Ponder While Walking
This was a very very great series! The cast was stellar, the plot was rich enough to keep you watching and complex enough to make you keep watching; thinking it's gonna end up... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Gift-o-Gabbydoll
To start with I admit I made it only through most of part one. But it didnt sit well from the start with the narration at the start. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T Kaz
I saw this miniseries when it came out on HBO and have been wanting to purchase it ever since; I finally got the chance with my Kindle. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MC Phillips
I first saw this when I purchased the DVD set. It is a wonderful movie. I looked for a long time to find it digitally but could not find it until a few months ago on HBO Now. Read morePublished 1 month ago by musicmomma
I only made it through the first 1/3 of the first episode, so bear that in mind when you read my comments.
This is a what? A sitcom?. I guess it's a sitcom. Read more
Though I love the story line about the ordinary lives of ordinary people in an economically depressed small American town, my main question is why weren't any actors of color... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Texan
I "got it" in the first 30 seconds. Slop. Self hating vomit. Waste.of great actors. Minus 5 stars.Published 1 month ago by Dan Fawks
Wildly entertaining and funny in a strange way.
Very realistic too, my own home town was "owned" by a select few aristocrats. Read more
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