The Grass Harp (1995)

CHARLES MATTHAU

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB

USA, 1995.  Charles Matthau-Jerry Tokofsky-John Davis Productions, Fine Line Features, Grass Harp, New Line Cinema.  Screenplay by , , based on the novella by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , Charles Matthau, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Toronto International Film Festival 1995.  

Loving adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella about an orphan boy () who is raised by his aunts, two women as different as two sisters could ever possibly be. Verena (Sissy Spacek) is a hard-nosed businesswoman who manages the entire family estate, a sizeable one that includes most of the town’s biggest businesses. Dolly (Piper Laurie) is the warmhearted and painfully shy ruler of the kitchen who makes mysteriously good potions for illness and is one of the finest cooks around. A host of colourful supporting characters are also a delight to watch, including Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau (whose son Charles directs), Charles Durning,  and especially Mary Steenburgen as a kind-hearted temple revivalist with fourteen children, all sired by different men.  It gets pretty sticky with its own sentimentality at times, but on the whole it’s a lovely and moving experience.

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