The Whole Wide World
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Driven by the electrifying performances of Vincent D'Onofrio (TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent") and Renée Zellweger (Chicago, Bridget Jones's Diary), THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD is the touching true story of the star-crossed love between writer Robert Howard and schoolteacher Novalyne Price. The creator of Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, Howard was a small-town writer with an insatiable appetite for larger-than-life heroism and fantasy. Shunned by the prudish locals, he was befriended by a feisty young teacher who offered him an unforgettable chance at love.
- Conversation with Renee Zellweger and director Dan Ireland
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This story is just lovely. I really enjoy the time period of the 30's and 40's and my grandparents had a farm so I feel that this movie has it all: romance, a hot guy, a sweet girl and a beautiful story in an amazing time in America. I love that it is based on Robert Howard's real life (he was the author of stories like Red Sonja and Conan the Barbarian) and his love of the heroic and larger than life stories of fantasy.
You can easily tell that the main actors, Vincent and Renée really do have a lovely chemistry and it is nice to know that through this they formed a nice friendship. I remember that when Renée Zellweger won Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards for her part in Cold Mountain she thanked Vincent for "teaching her how to work" In her acceptance speech.
If you like sweet movies that will make you look at the world in a more loving way, this is the movie for you.
First, the acting is first rate, especially the lead characters. The cinematography is equally so - I felt as though I were an invisible observer in 1930s Texas. The real reason why I rated this so highly, though, is the balanced viewpoint it projects. Granted, this is based on Novalyne Price's personal perspective, but it neither glorifies nor denigrates Hunter as a person and a writer. If anything it portrays Hunter as a genius who had quirks and flaws that probably contributed to his genius, and provides insights into who he actually was.
Another reason why I love this film is it is substantially accurate. There appear to be no liberties taken. Part of that is probably because the script closely follows One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard the Final Years, which is a first hand account by Price.
While I did not start this movie as a Conan fan, it did inspire me to seek out Howard's works and read them with insights that I would have not had, had I not watched this movie. I am still not a big fan, but I do appreciate it all because of this movie - and that is the highest tribute I can pay to the entire project. It also made me see Zellweger in a vastly different light as a truly talented actor, and reinforced my opinion that D'Onofrio is one of the best actors of this time.
Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger both give unique and memorable performances in this haunting love story. One never feels that they are "acting", even for a minute. One senses the tragedy in the relationship between pulp fiction writer Bob Howard and teacher Novalyne Price, but also the sweetness that led her to write the memoir on which this film was based, many years later.
View this film, it will not disappoint. I think it is one of the top ten films I've ever seen. It's a crime that it was not more widely released, or recognized by the Academy Awards. Both actors were deserving of Best Actor/Actress recognition for their work, but I guess small non-moneymaking films don't stand much of a chance in that arena! In my book, Vincent D'Onofrio bested the Best Actor award for that year, Nicholas Cage, by several degrees. This film introduced me to his work, and he is an actor who never fails to give a memorable performance, no matter how small or offbeat the part.