The Levelling



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 49%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1505


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July 18, 2017 at 02:38 AM


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1hr 23 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by kmevler 5 / 10

depressing reality

to rhondasmit "Miserable": yes, this farm appears badly run. dead mum, floods, brink of financial ruin, then suicide of heir apparent. god-awful patriarch unable to cope. daughter ran away long ago.

i don't think this film was supposed to be a study in good farm management, good animal husbandry, or exemplary familial bonds. rather - it reflects the reality of most people as flawed human beings with mostly flawed coping mechanisms. sorrow, remorse, depression, the daily grind of life's demands ('you get up and milk the cows every morning forever - this is your life') - it's a depressing movie. why would anyone want to live and work on a farm where litter is left lying about and everything is mired in muck. perhaps that's the point.

plot devices are moderately rudimentary: make the vegan veterinarian daughter kill the newborn calf "so the mother won't get attached to it" with the same gun (i think) that the brother had used to kill himself - that was just needlessly ham-handed (or beef-handed?) audience manipulation. ending pretty predictable. dad crying, daughter protagonist crying, sky crying on funeral day. acting was OK given unlikable characters. time-line too short for any character growth.

so if you want to be thoroughly depressed, watch this film. at least it's honest enough to not offer some crap Disney-esque happy-ever- after only found in fairy tales. the ending leaves a tiny sliver of hope for those so inclined. if you want unrealistic happy 'farminess" - go watch "Babe".

Reviewed by Lee Eisenberg ([email protected]) 8 / 10

there are only a few movies that make me feel as if I'm spying on the characters

"The Levelling" is one such movie. Shot in a naturalistic style, it truly feels as though you're learning more about this family than you should. It doesn't star anyone recognizable, giving a sense of realism. The young veterinarian's return to her family farm opens the door to multiple revelations not only about the recent tragedies, but about things that have been going on for a long time.

Only a few movies have been this much like a knife in the stomach. another was "The War Zone", about a family that discovers an ugly secret. I recommend both movies, and I'm eager to see Hope Dickson Leach's next movie.

Reviewed by rhondasmit 1 / 10


Just horrible.

When it comes to the factual... these people should not be allowed around animals. This is no way to run a dairy - or to treat a dog for that matter. Apparently they have never heard about basic biosecurity measures. Their milking parlor is filthy, they don't clean the teats properly, reuse wipes and dip cup, even though it is designed to be dumped/single use, and I shudder to think where the milk goes. Heck, TB is the least of their worries.

I have never encountered a dairy that didn't have a plan for the bull calves (even with AI and heifer-select semen you still get about 30% bull calves, you either veal out or sell to become hamburger steers). Since a calf is necessary to milk a cow, you are hoping for a heifer - true - but you take a bull calf. It is not a disaster, nor do you go shooting and burning it.

You cannot hide TB, since milk gets tested regularly (for antibiotics, somatic cell count and pathogens like TB). If your whole herd is infected, they have to be destroyed, true enough - but how exactly was the daughter's presence going to ward off a bacterial pathogen, apparently water borne? And why would she give up her future with a possible income-producing job to move back to a sinking ship, especially with a 'father' like that? And shooting infected cows long distance in the field, that is beyond stupid.

It is sad when a family or a farm fails, but in this case, it was a nasty family, with no redeeming qualities I can think of, a badly run farm, and they live in a country with a generous social net, or they could get a job. Sh*t happens, life goes on (or not, if you choose suicide). Also, why not burn the badgers? Just makes no sense.

On top of that there is nothing to recommend this film, the cinematography is apparently done by cell phone, blurry, jumbled, just plain bad, all the actors are difficult to listen to or look at, and there is no coherent story worth telling. And forget about a score. We turned on CC and the only comment my husband made was: "That's not music", when the subtitles indicated that music was playing.

Frankly, I hated that the daughter became infantile and called for 'Daddy' at the end, when the man was a waste of space, who insisted on dragging those around him down. He probably killed his wife too.

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