Review: ‘Cross Creek’

Cross Creek, based on the memoirs of The Yearling author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, offers a sanitized vision of her early struggle to publish a novel and the Florida backwoods which inspired her prose.

Cross Creek, based on the memoirs of The Yearling author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, offers a sanitized vision of her early struggle to publish a novel and the Florida backwoods which inspired her prose.

It’s an uncompelling, yet warm, tale which lightly skips over the woman’s travails by illustrating a series of vignettes of rural humanity. The overall effect trivializes a life and provides little insight into the artistic process.

Story opens in 1928 with Rawlings (Mary Steenburgen) deciding to leave the security of a marriage to a wealthy New Yorker for the uncertainty of life in a remote region of Florida.

The drama, what little exists in the film, centers on Rawlings’ inability to sell her work until she begins writing about the events of the Florida swamp folk.

Remainder of the film focuses on Rawlings’ relationship with local hotelier Norton Baskin (Peter Coyote), the recovery of her land and the warm relationship between the author and her young black housekeeper.

1983: Nominations: Best Supp. Actor (Rip Torn), Supp. Actress (Alfre Woodard), Costume Design, Original Score

Cross Creek

Production

Thorn-EMI. Director Martin Ritt; Producer Robert B. Radnitz; Screenplay Dalene Young; Camera John A. Alonzo; Editor Sidney Levin; Music Leonard Rosenman;; Art Director Walter Scott Herndon

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 122 MIN.

With

Mary Steenburgen Rip Torn Peter Coyote Dana Hill Alfre Woodard Joanna Miles
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