Off the Map
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Bo (Valentina de Angelis) is eleven years old and lives in a remote desert area of New Mexico with her mother (Joan Allen), a free spirit who tends to the garden in the nude, and her father (Sam Elliott), who is losing a battle with his inner demons. One day they receive a visit from an IRS agent (Jim True-Frost) who is there to audit the family even though they make a very modest income. Realizing the simple yet profound way that Bo and her family are living, the IRS agent abandons his work tolive with the family and surrender to the mystique of the desert landscape. Eventually he becomes the catalyst for major changes and discoveries by every member of the family. OFF THE MAP is a story of self-discovery that reveals unexpected moments of grace and the unpredictable enduring nature of love.
Off the Map avoids conventional drama (hardly any event leads to an outcome you could expect) but the lean, sharp dialogue and superb performances make this movie a rich, human comedy. A young girl named Bo, living in the New Mexico desert, rebels against her bohemian parents by reading Forbes magazine and applying for credit cards. Her father Charley (Sam Elliott, Tombstone) has sunk deep into a paralyzing depression; her resilient, industrious mother Arlene (Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger) alternates between gently supporting Charley and railing against his zombie-like state. Into this off-balance family comes a tax auditor (Jim True-Frost, Singles), who--after being stung by a bee and lapsing into a sudden fever--becomes an accidental catalyst for change. In her movie debut as Bo, Valentina de Angelis gives a wonderful performance, head and shoulders above most actors her age. Campbell Scott's direction, as with his first film Big Night, is warm but not sappy; he has a gift for letting a story wander without it ever getting lost. The New Mexico landscape glows in the sun and helps give Off the Map a quiet but mysterious vision of life. --Bret Fetzer
Top Customer Reviews
The plot of this movie has been written about several times here so I won't repeat most of it. Briefly, it's about a family of three, two parents and a young girl, who live in a secluded house in New Mexico (no running water, no electricity) and live on less than $5000 a year, who are visited by a young inexperienced IRS agent. The story is about how they all change as their lives intertwine in the midst of the beauty of the New Mexico high desert.
New Mexico in itself is a character in this movie. I briefly lived in Santa Fe and I completely related to the IRS agent's feeling of awe and inspiration. Unlike some other viewers, however, I felt that the movie failed to convey some of the majesty of the region. In one of the extras on the DVD the producers talked about how they didn't want to make the scenery "too beautiful," as if it were some form of tourism porno. Perhaps the problem is that I saw the movie on the small screen and not the theater because it seemed to me that they went too far in the other direction. I have stood in the desert, like the IRS agent, and felt overwhelmed and inspired. I understood the character's reaction, but didn't really see why he was reacting the way he did within the context of what they were showing in the movie.Read more ›
One day a hapless IRS agent, William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost), arrives at their house for an auditing, issued by the government, for the Grodens had not filed in seven years. A Massachusetts native who has transfer to Albaquerque and adopted a new profession, which has buried him deeper into the symptoms that distinguish a cog in the wheel of our civilized machine. The agent will become enchanted with the lifestyle, the landscape and the bewitching simplicity that nestles the Grodens everyday existence.Read more ›
Going bad to worse an IRS agent named William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost) appears on their doorstep to audit the Grodin's who haven't filed a tax return in six years. William is immediately bitten by a bee and has an allergic reaction, forcing him to remain with the Grodin's until he's feeling better. When he recovers he appears somehow different than he was upon arrival. Was it the bee sting, the Grodin's bohemian lifestyle or the enchanted New Mexico landscape that has brought about this profound change in their unexpected guest? William has discovered that "New Mexico is a very powerful place."
The film moves at a very slow, protracted pace in tune with the directorial objective of establishing the meaninglessness of time when living "off the map" and free of the constraints of jobs, schedules and responsibilities. If you're not prepared to give your full attention to the film from the beginning you are likely to quickly lose interest, but if you give yourself over to the experience and allow the New Mexico desert to envelope you a multi-faceted gem of a story awaits.
Marvelous performances by all, but the real star of this film is little Valentina De Angelis. She's definitely destined for greatness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome in everyway.
Depression is a serious illness and this movie made many aware. All cast members were beyond excellent.
Loved it. Probably not for everyone, but I loved the quirky personalities. And what's not to love about Sam Elliott... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nan Fox
This is a wonderful story full of quirky people and a very smart little girl just trying to make sense of her crazy world. The acting is superb and the cinematography fantastic.Published 3 months ago by Julie Timberlake
Excellent service, good product, swift delivery, and great price. Total five star and HIGHLY recommended. Thank you. LeonardPublished 4 months ago by LAW
The film when we were able to watch it on Netflix is fantastic!!! But the copy would not play on Amazon, the sound kept going off and it kept freezing as if it were a scratched... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cheer
Quirky, funny, tragic and visually astounding. Every time we watch it, we notice something we haven't seen before. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Annette Unwin
A quirky movie, well acted.There are deeper messages worth hunting for in the movie involving depression, release from pain and the curative aspects of nature.Published 6 months ago by damor