Cinema Consults: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Physician's Money Digest, August 2006, Volume 13, Issue 8

The Prize Winner ofDefiance, Ohio (2005)

Whenever I comeacross a gem likethis movie I feelobligated to pass iton. I have our productionmanagerSusan Stewart tothank for her recommendation, sohere is mine. In this film JulianneMoore portrays Evelyn Ryan, themother of 10 children in postwarOhio, who struggles to make endsmeet by putting her wit to use in theonly vehicle available to her—jinglewriting contests. Mrs. Ryan battlesobstacles in her effort to provide forher family, including an alcoholic husband(Woody Harrelson), dwindlingfinances, and a sexist world. Throughoutit all, Evelyn Ryan focuses on herfamily without regret or dissatisfaction.The fact that this film is based onthe memoirs of Terry "Tuffy" Ryan,one of Evelyn's 10 children, makes itall the more endearing. Moore's portrayalis outstanding and is reminiscentof the quiet intensity she sharedwith us in The Hours. The interestingnarrative, which is entrenched incheerful 1950's nostalgia, really drawsyou into the time period and serves asa contrasting backdrop to the strugglesfaced by this woman, who is desperatelytrying to care for her family.Best of all, this is a film that can beappreciated by all of the members ofyour family; it is not to be missed. Ijust hate it when a movie this good islost in the shuffle.

Rating: 4

Lisa A. Tomaszewski, editor of Physician's MoneyDigest, is currently working on her PhD in literatureat Drew University in New Jersey. She is anavid fan of film and has taught a summer filmcourse at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Shewelcomes questions, comments, or suggestionsfor future film reviews at 732-656-1140 ext 195or ltomaszewski@ascendmedia.com.