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Rails and Ties

4.1 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden give soaring performances in Rails & Ties, director Alison Eastwood’s moving tale of people in crisis and emotions at the brink. Bacon plays Tom Stark, a train engineer unable to face his wife’s (Harden) illness. Then a terrifying railway collision leaves a little boy orphaned. Tom takes the boy into his home and – step by step, strength by strength – learns how to bond with the wife he adores by opening his heart to a boy who needs the security of a devoted family.

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Alison Eastwood (Clint's daughter) makes an impressive directorial debut with the moving Rails & Ties, an unusual drama about the redemption of three tragic characters through a makeshift family. Kevin Bacon stars as Tom, a locomotive engineer whose distraction over his wife’s terminal cancer brings doubts about his judgment when he runs into a suicidal woman who parks her car on train tracks. Forced to take time off, Tom confronts his growing distance from Megan (Marcia Gay Harden), who has little time left and wants him, despite his resistance, to be with her. Everything changes when Davey (Miles Heizer), the young son of the dead woman, flees from an abusive foster home and finds his way to Tom, where a confrontation leads to a desperate connection between the boy and childless Megan and Tom. Eastwood’s handsome and tender film explores the reawakening of hope under the shadow of death, without slipping into bathos, distracting viewers with the obvious implausibility of the situation, or allowing attention to drift during one or two of screenwriter Micky Levy’s weaker scenes. Harden and Bacon (whose increasingly grizzled look and laconic performance here recall the elder Eastwood) are very good as would-be parents who find love again at the 11th hour. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Miles Heizer, Marin Hinkle, Eugene Byrd
  • Directors: Alison Eastwood
  • Writers: Micky Levy
  • Producers: Barrett Stuart, Peer J. Oppenheimer, Robert Lorenz, Tim Moore
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 17, 2008
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00133KFH6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,823 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rails and Ties" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Laurel M. DiGangi on May 12, 2008
Format: DVD
RAILS AND TIES is a quiet, well-crafted film that captures the complicated, conflicting emotions people undergo when confronted with terminal cancer. But it's no disease-of-the-week weeper. Instead, it's a gutsy tale of a strong woman (Marcia Gay Harden) who must reassess her life after medical science has ultimately failed her. Her anguished husband (Kevin Bacon) buries himself in his job as a railroad conductor--until a suicidal woman parks her car in front of his oncoming train. Forced to take a leave of absence while the incident is being investigated, Bacon's character must now stay at home and confront his wife's illness.

The main thrust of the story concerns the couple's encounter with the suicide victim's preteen son (Miles Heizer) with whom they develop a parental bond. Although this twist creates new conflicts for the couple, it rekindles their lost relationship--as well as drives the film forward towards its life-affirming conclusion.

The film's performances are superb, and Alison Eastwood's direction is graceful and sublime. Micky Levy's screenplay creates characters that are truly believable and 3-dimensional, and brings us into their world so deeply that we don't want to leave.
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Format: DVD
I really liked this movie. I had never heard of it. I thought the acting was well done. Yes, the movie is sad, but it works. The story comes together nicely. Defnitely is worth watching.
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RAILS & TIES, under the guidance of first time director Alison Eastwood, tackles an implausible subject of multiple tragedies resulting in repairing personal breaks and with the able assistance of a groups of excellent actors makes a finely tune, sensitive study of little lives struggling against major odds. It is well conceived, well written (Micky Levy), well acted and sincerely moving.

Tom Stark (Kevin Bacon) is a train engineer, married to his job as well as being married to his nurse wife Megan (Marcia Gay Harden) who is facing the ugly fact that her breast cancer is terminal. The cancer has spread beyond Megan's body into the tenuous space that keeps a marriage glued: Megan attempts to hide her desperate need for emotional support by continuing to work as a nurse and Tom takes on extra train runs to avoid the reality that face him at home. The other side of the story is equally sad: young Davey Danner (Miles Heizer) cares of his psychologically shattered mother (Bonnie Root) and unknowingly accompanies her on a jaunt to 'see the train' - a ploy well planned by the suicidal mother to drive in front of an oncoming train to end her life along with Davey's. The conductor of the train is of course Tom Stark, and when Tom first sees the car on the tracks, he keeps to company policy that recommends gradual slowing rather than the danger of an abrupt stop: the result is the death of Davey's mother but Davey escapes the crash while trying to pull his mother from the car. The tragedies mount: Davey is left homeless, being placed in a foster home run by the cruel 'mom' (Margo Martindale) only to escape to find the 'killer' of his mother; Tom is put on leave for the incident; Megan gets the final word that she has very little time left and is ready to leave the distant Tom.
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23 Comments 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
A roller coaster of a film that does not stray away from the difficult movie topics of suicide and cancer. This will most likely be a must see for any train people (both scale models and in passenger size). I can see the story has already been laid out in the other reviews, boring some and impressing others so I will stick with a production review.

Kevin Bacon portrays hidden emotional tangents as well as always, he looked similar to his character from Woodsman (an often skipped but worthy film). His trademark walk/swagger shows through a couple of times but his performance was believable and in the end, convincing since he had to go from being emotionally stunted to a single parent in one week. Marcia Gay Harden was outstanding and gave her best performance to date as a dying, childless woman in a defunct marriage who had always yearned for a child. The child actor (Heizer) gave his first big performance in film here, and he does not disappoint. The roles of being caregiver to his suicidal mom, to a grieving homeless kid, to the acceptance of the man who drove the train that killed her, could not have been easy. He stumbles a few times but has the early workings and innocent face of a young River Phoenix.

The deleted scenes were so relevant to back story and the kid's time being homeless, they should have been left in just to give something to the lead characters past and present dilemmas. The two actors (in these deleted parts) gave wonderful performances but appeared nowhere else in the film; I cannot even find their credits listed.

At times, customers ask for a film that will uplift them and not make them cry, this film will not be the one I hand them.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a small little story. It kind of reminded me of another film <THE SON> by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The only difference is Dardenne brother's movie, they keeps the child who kills the father's son. In this movie, the father is a train engineer who happens to experience a collision with a woman who purposely put her car on the railroad and couldn't stop the train. The woman wanted to kill herself.
The son of that woman survived comes to the railroad engineer mad at her mother's death. But he ends up with loving the whole family. The woman who is having a cancer and the man who was the engineer.
They wanted to keep him and even lied to the woman who tried to replaces the boy to the foster parent saying that he didn't saw the boy at all.
On the other hand, the engineer got suspended from the train company and he had a hard time as well.
But little by little he got closed with the boy and they become more like family.
His wife becomes more sick and finally dies.
Being left alone, the engineer tells the boy that we cannot run away forever cause you should go to school and all.
We are together and I won't abandone you. They finally go to meet this woman who tries to find where the boy is and tries to take him to the foster parent.
He will try to keep him as a parent for sure. The movie ends with hand in hand with the child beginning to walk to the office where the woman is working.
It is not a grandiose kind of film but rather a very small and calm story. I liked it that way and it was just the movie I wanted last night.
Sometimes I need a quiet and calm movie but heart warming one. If you are having a same mood, this is for you.
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