Carried Away

Director: Bruno Barreto
Screenwriters: Jim Harrison, Ed Jones

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Joseph, a small-town teacher, is at a crossroads in his life. His childhood sweetheart, after many patient years, is growing weary with their stalled wedding plans. It’s not like anything is really wrong; it’s just that something is not right. These two people are as planted as the cornfields that spread around them in all directions. Enter Catherine, a young student way past her years in age, a sexy, Lolita-esque nymph who will not take no for an answer. Like the proverbial moth, Joseph cannot help but enter into a tumultuous relationship with her, even though it can only mean self-destruction. He finds he must decide whether his heart is still worth following. To add to his dilemma, he must solve the greater mystery: What does his heart really want?

Based on the novel Farmer by Jim Harrison, Bruno Barreto has created a film with a soul, not an easy endeavor in this time when dialogue is usually replaced by an explosion. He instead opts for a wonderful use of drama, the good, hearty kind. Dennis Hopper, in a departure from his villain persona, turns in a wonderfully subdued performance that tears at your heartstrings. Amy Irving is lovely as his friend and lover, communicating inner strength even when her heart is breaking, and Amy Locane has all the required intense sensuality as the seventeen-year-old. The whole ensemble is rich and real, and to Barreto’s credit, all the characters are fully realized and ironically full of life, even though they have become temporarily frozen by life’s prospects. There is an air of nostalgia to Carried Away. It is reminiscent of films from another era without being quaint or sentimental. That may be because it reminds us that conflicts can still be solved with the spoken word.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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