Ulee's Gold

1997

Action / Drama

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 6112

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Jessica Biel as Casey Jackson
Patricia Richardson as Connie Hope
Peter Fonda as Ulee Jackson
Christine Dunford as Helen Jackson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
844.5 MB
1204*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
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1.73 GB
1792*1072
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
P/S 2 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rbstern 9 / 10

Delightful movie

Saw this movie many years ago, and had occasion to see it again recently.

It's filled with good performances, none more so than Peter Fonda in the title role. The aging and weary Ulee has heavy life burdens. He's a vet who lost many friends in Vietnam. He's a widower to a woman who was his soulmate. He's father to an imprisoned felon. Father-in-law to a junkie daughter-in-law, who ran away and left him as a stand-in- parent to his two young granddaughters, including a rebellious teen (nice performance by a young Jessica Biel). His dying trade, beekeeping, is physically demanding. His body is breaking down. His son's past sins are coming back as a very real danger to the family. He clings desperately to his values and way of life, but it's clear his soul is nearly exhausted.

And if that's not enough, Ulee's upbringing, character and outlook on life demand that he carry all this weight alone, without help from outsiders.

Fonda's performance has you feeling like you're bearing some of the crushing weight on Ulee's back. Palpable. You can't help but feel sorry for him, with every step in his painful, limping gait.

This is an understated tale of a man persevering against life trying to tear him down, with the kind of burdens many people in our society know all too well.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 7 / 10

a slow-built but absorbing yarn tampered with a tinge of mainstream complacency

This American indie, indubitably director/writer Victor Nunez's most well-known work, has hitherto earned Peter Fonda his sole acting Oscar nomination. Ulee Jackson (Fonda) is a widowed beekeeper in an unnamed town in Florida, who raises his two granddaughters Casey (Biel in her film debut) and Penny (Zima, a precocious heart-melting angel) all by himself because his son Jimmy (Wood) is serving time in jail and his daughter-in-law Helen (Dunford) is a congenital drug addict who takes flight in another town.

It is difficult for a man like Ulee to raise two young girls, the elder Casey is in her rebellious pubescence and the younger Penny is perceptibly despondent in the humdrum days, only the arrival of a new neighbor Connie Hope (Richardson), a childless, twice-divorced nurse, proffers Penny some excitement, but Ulee remains courteous but distant.

The season of tupelo is coming, which for beekeepers, it is the golden time of the year to produce the indigenous high-caliber tupelo honey, but Ulee's life has been dragged into a flurry of hapless incidents, after taking back an unconscious and drug-addled Helen from Eddie (Flynn) and Ferris (Weber), two wretches and former associates of Jimmy, he is browbeaten by them to find a hidden stash of cash whose where-about only Jimmy knows. Thanks to the professional succor from Connie, the family manage to help Helen go through her withdrawal and a gentle mutual affection burgeons between Ulee and Connie, meanwhile, Casey and Penny both lend a helping hand in the honey business, and finally, facing up the menacing Eddie and Ferris, Ulee must save his family once and for all from the past contraventions.

On the one hand, ULEE'S GOLD is a genuine lover letter to apiculture, Nunez modulates a minute and patient angle to show audience its stock-in-trade, and Fonda is greatly hands-on in every step, often alone in the woods, ploughs on with adroitness and dedication, never belies that he is play- acting; on the other hand, what quietly distills through the happenings, sometimes raucous (Helen's detox process), sometimes dramatic (visiting Jimmy in the prison, is he an ingrate or a prodigal son?), sometimes threatening (the murky suspense in fetching the cash under duress), is a lone wolf who is perspicacious and mettlesome in wrestling with the downside of his life, and a patriarch figure who is given an opportunity to single-handedly re-direct his son's family back to the right orbit, plus a second chance in his love life too. Thus, the resultant outcome is a slow-built but absorbing yarn tampered with a tinge of complacency.

Still, Mr. Fonda's performance is the chief takeaway, a reclusive macho paterfamilias who, nevertheless, conceals a tender heart underneath, is a character too make-believe to be authentic, but we are so caught up in his attempt to clear off all the obstacles and ultimately, as contrived as the story ends, we are not attacked by the usual bathetic aftertaste, which all owes to Fonda's upright, unfeigned and taciturnly riveting presentation of an ordinary hero is bent on doing the right thing.

Reviewed by powermandan 9 / 10

Very Good!

Henry Fonda is one of the best actors in all of cinema. His son Peter has done some great films too, with one of his lesser known flicks (this) containing his best performance. Fonda was nominated for an Academy Award and almost won. While Fonda is the crown-jewel in this, the supporting cast is just as good and almost everything the movie has is A-1.

Ulee's Gold is a character study about a reserved beekeeper named Ulee Jackson (Fonda) who takes care of his two granddaughters. 7th Heaven's Jessica Biel plays rebellious punk teenager Casey and her little sister is the more normal Penny. Their mother Helen is a junkie who abandoned them and their father, Jimmy (Ulee's son), is a convict in prison. When Ulee urgently visits his son, he gets informed that his son's criminal accomplices, Eddie and Ferris, have found Helen and have been caring for her in Orlando. When Ulee goes to get her, they say that for her exchange that they want the money Jimmy hid after a job that they never got. Ulee takes Helen home and must deal with her withdrawal symptoms after years of heavy rohypnol use. I personally thought Helen gave the best performance of an actress that year in a supporting role.

Peter Fonda's calm performance is not one that could be taken lightly. We see the pain, heartbreak and struggles as he tries to bring his torn up family back together. There's some scenes where we see him dealing with the bees--he expertly handles the bees, and it reflects on how he will be handling his family. His family is much harder to tend with than the bees, but Ulee determination will make reconciliation just as effect as his beekeeping. As I mentioned, Casey is a punk, who changes for the better. Helen is a junkie, who changes for the better. Penny is depressed and heartbroken, who gets better. Ulee's best fiends died in the war and his wife passed away, but his will to flee his demons and bring his family back together are all great.

While the acting and character development are all perfect, the only criticism I'd give would be that the movie tends to drag on in some parts. Not a big deal, so whatever.

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