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Showing 1-10 of 113 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 159 reviews
on February 1, 2017
I greatly enjoyed this movie set circa 1974 in northern New Mexico. Loved all the actors and the simple, life-affirming story. I'm a fan of both Sam Elliott and Joan Allen and they were supported by a great cast. Charley (Elliot) is depressed and his supportive wife Arlene (Allen) is very supportive. Everyone loves Arlene. The family lives a simple, off the grid life in a homestead outside of Taos. The wife gardens naked (sometimes) and looks for junk at the local dump. There is a precocious child who has a method of obtaining free food. A tax man arrives and becomes part of the family. The movie contains no violence, no sex scenes, no profanity, no perversions etc. It is fit for family consumption. I loved the setting in New Mexico, like living on an ocean of sand. Beautiful skies, clouds, sunsets, sunrises and good drinking water. A gentle, easygoing movie. A great change of pace from all the nonsense coming out of Hollywood.
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on June 21, 2014
We had watched this film almost ten years ago for the first time, and we enjoyed it a lot. But we had rented it, so we didn't have a copy to watch again. I recently bought it, so we were able to watch it again, and what a surprise we were in for--this film that we already liked was so much better the second time, when we were already familiar with the story. The second time through, we were able to see so much more depth and love and compassion in this film, and my wife and I are pretty sure it won't be another ten years before we see it again.

At its core, it seems to me to be a film about acceptance, about loving people unconditionally, no matter how they may be acting. Nothing is forced here, there are no trite clichés, there are no amazing moments of epiphany--we see five people living their lives and caring for and about each other. Valentina de Angelis gives an incredible performance as Bo, but all of the performances are above average.

If you like films with tons of action, this isn't for you. If you like films that take their time to develop and that explore the depths of characters rather than just their surfaces, a film that has the patience to allow the story to develop, then there's a good chance that you'll enjoy this movie. It really is a great experience.
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on April 27, 2007
In 1994, Campbell Scott, full-time actor and sometimes writer/producer/director attended a play of OFF THE MAP in Massachusetts. It was written by Joan Ackerman. He loved the dramatic event, and immediately took out the option to film it. But per usual for these kinds of aspirations, he took 10 years to put the project together. In the interim, he directed three other films, BIG NIGHT (1996), HAMLET (2000) starring himself, and FINAL (2001).

He brought his film crew in 2002 to a remote corner of New Mexico, north of Taos, not far from the old D.H. Lawrence ranch. They constructed the "Grodin" house with lots of extra windows. Scott, and his crack cinematographer, Juan Ruiz Anchia, used the intense southwestern sunlight and the breathtaking high desert landscape like another member of the cast.

This is the story of a woman in her late 30's, Amy Brenneman, who reflects upon the summer she was 11 years old -the summer her father was depressed -the year a stranger came into her life and joined the family. Nothing was ever the same after that.

Valentina de Angelis played young Bo. In her film debut she shows great promise, rivaling other grand performances by young girls, like Mary Badham in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and Tatum O'Neal in PAPER MOON. She played a precocious intelligent child who although she dearly loved her father, she needed to grow up and escape the narrow, albeit natural, limits of the Eden he had created for his family. Sam Elliott played Charley Grodin. This is one of his finest roles. Playing against type, he reveals a rare vulnerability and emotional fragility that he has withheld from us in the past. He habitually stands in shadow and is often nearly mute -but we always know he is there and that he is in tremendous pain. Joan Allen, plays the wife and mother, Arlene, as a feisty sexy half-Hopi earthy long-haired hippie -who adores her eccentric husband and her fussing child, and thrives in the lifestyle that Charley has created out of inventiveness and a lot of useful items from the County Dump. She is struggling with the role of matriarch since her spouse is shut down with his crippling emotional issues. Jim True-Frost excels in the pivotal role of William Gibbs, the IRS pariah who wandered in lost off the desert -becomes first mesmerized by Arlene and then is stung by Grodin honey bees and falls into a near coma and fever. Emerging from his vision quest, he has an epiphany -quits the IRS, continues to live with the Grodins, and becomes an artist. J.K.Simmons does a nice turn as well as the loyal, although dim best friend, George.

This is a slow moving yet sparkling film that merits a good look. It is an important tale of love and loss, and it makes us reassess the quality of our own lives.
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on November 30, 2013
I enjoyed this film, which filled several hours of this evening, as I needed to rewind and savor this and that. The screen cannot replicate the vastness of this area, which I've only driven through in the distant past. "Ophelia's Ghost" is a novel set in the same area of the American Southwest. The vast empty undulating vibrating curve; ever changing echos our psyche, ever hungry for "more."

A man is rich when he has a good marriage, a loving child, owns his home, lives by his wits and skill. Money is optional. Though I have not seen any comment yet here, not only is he a genius for living "off the grid" without money but he has no jealousy, he is gracious, he is generous. He has no anger. He owns his actions and his words and chooses them wisely.

The young IRS agent was himself hungry...he had not been an agent for long. He realized after the bee sting that he had not come to New Mexico to collect back taxes from people that have no taxable income. As the tax man realized his true value as a man, so did the other characters. The rest is art.

Depression is a tricky business. Like a black hole, it sucks in not just the "patient," but everyone around him. He is begged to swallow pills when everyone in the small family is sick of the head of house withdrawing into himself. Hadn't he earned it? The right to be quiet for awhile? Was the depression coming from him? Was it imposed on him by outsiders, in their judgements of him as a "failure?" such as the comment by the deliveryman, "Are you all on mushrooms?" Or did he just need something to do? Like making oil paint? Like Rembrandt did...and in the process enabling a seeker to become an artist. Trusting the one that comes to you to complete you...without force, and when they leave by death or bus...trusting what remains is wisdom.

Hopi dates back to Anasazi peoples who built their homes into the cracks of high mountains. These people have been living on this land, without money, taxes, or governments since before Noah's Ark and the great flood. The film hints about the circle of life, the roundness of the horizon, the ever-changing nature of reality. Or perhaps it is no more than a great circle, a cycle of life.

I think it would be better on a big screen, and maybe there is some way to doctor it so that it looks 3d, but the point is to open the vision within...just as the stories read aloud of sails and sailing ships manifested one day in a real boat. They don't have to be perfect. If they were, there would be nothing left for us viewers to do after we watch the film.
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on March 29, 2013
When it comes to movies, I have a decent attention span. But I also have very little patience for movies that use the labels of "independent" and "artsy" to excuse a boring, disjointed and lifeless story. This movie, while slow, is none of those things. It's a unique story fleshed out by each character (who play their roles flawlessly), and comes across as quirky and magical, yet still plausible. The dialogue is intelligent, to the point, funny at times, and honest. Nothing about this movie is fussy or over-done. And it's a nice break from the cliche Hollywood product that gets so predictable it's almost a waste of time.
However I will admit, while extremely well done, this movie is not for everyone. It's character driven, there are no explosions or especially gripping moments, and Sam Elliot isn't his classic cowboy self but someone who locks himself in the outhouse to cope with his depression. On the flip side, here is a chance you will be inspired to drop your life and move to the Middle of Nowhere, NM. But, if you can make your peace with all that, it's worth watching.
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on December 3, 2012
Everyone has their own preferences in movies and what they like or dislike. I must admit that I am a bit selective in what I like and I usually prefer movies that offer hope amidst struggles. Good triumphs over evil. The underdog wins in the end. Normally, I watch what some might call escapist fare, but Off The Map caught my attention when shown on a movie channel a few years ago. I recently bought it on DVD to watch with a friend and was reminded of why it has stuck with me over time. It is a quirky story dealing with personal relationships and unique perspectives on life and living. I won't reveal any details but I will say that this movie is intended to make you stop and think about how we live our lives. Personally, I think that some reflection and introspection are good things. It is common and easy for us to get caught up in our busy lives and continue in an almost unthinking manner, running a race we don't even know we are in. Off The Map provides a different perspective on life and living. I came away from viewing it with a desire to pursue living my life being true to myself and to that in which I believe. Ultimately, I came away with that rare but so very needed sense of hope!
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on May 4, 2016
Quirky, funny, tragic and visually astounding. Every time we watch it, we notice something we haven't seen before. Such different rolls for Elliott and Allen which they master with such expertise. Their young co-star is precocious, and yet very intelligent in the way she tries to manipulate a situation to her advantage. She shows a loving gentler side as the movie moves on. This movie is a journey into lives of a family who prove that sometimes, basic needs can be simple.
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on June 14, 2017
An all time favorite - well written , directed and acted - poignant story line.
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on July 3, 2017
Considering a move to Taos. This helped us see the area before we could visit.
Also, I found the story line to be wonderful and real. The young girl actress was just great!!
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on October 3, 2015
Bizarre. It held my interest but it is not a movie that I would recommend because I am not sure that it has any redeeming qualities, and I really do not even want to think about what they might be. I fell asleep while I was watching it, which rarely happens, but I still wanted to watch the rest of it the next day. So I am torn. It is definitely not a movie that you would want to share with your children even though a child is one of the main characters.
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