I hate to set the tone of my rating right at the beginning. I mean, why would you want to read the rest of the review if I let you know the movie was a let-down? The thing is that I was really enjoying “American Fable,” up until about the last fifteen minutes. The movie wasn’t really realistic, but then it does have “fable” in the title, it’s just that the ending took such dark turns, and didn’t really live up to the fableness in my book because, at the end of it all, I’m not sure what the moral actually was.
Sure, there might have supposed to have been a correlation to Aesop’s “The Lion and The Mouse,” at least the real version and not the version told in the movie where the lion eats the mouse, but things were left so wide open, without explanation, that it’s almost left up to your own interpretation. Who wants that after an hour and a half?
Alright, let’s at least get to the story.
Peyton Kennedy plays Gitty. She’s living on the farm with her father, Abe (Kip Pardue), mother, Sarah (Marci Miller), and brother, Martin (Gavin Macintosh). The farm is struggling and Abe is just trying to hold things together. Meanwhile Sarah is pregnant, and Martin is an asshole.
As it is Gitty stumbles upon a man, Jonathan (Richard Schiff), locked in a silo on the farm. “Why are you in a silo?”, Gitty asks, then mentions going to get her dad. Jonathan replies “No, no one is supposed to know I’m here.”
What the hell? Didn’t Abe and Sarah tell Gitty about stranger-danger, let alone stranger-danger in a silo?
Jonathan’s hook to keep Gitty from getting dad? He promises her anything in the whole world, Gitty thinks about it a bit, and asks, “Do you know any good stories?”
Really? That’s all you want right now? Okay, this might be bizarre, but I’m in for it so far.
Yes, you can guess, the man is being held in the silo by dad, something about a way to save the family farm, at least so explains Vera, Zuleikha Robinson, a mystery woman who has Abe “holding a package” for her.
Gitty, of course, befriends Jonathan, bringing him food, books, and someone to talk to, and through it all, all I wonder is where does Jonathan go to the bathroom?
As the story goes along Gitty finds out that her family is involved in Jonathan’s being held captive and it would eventual save the farm, but she is torn. I mean what is she to do? The man seems to be her friend now, her brother is an ass, and her chicken, Happy, is kind of her only other true friend.
We get glimpses that Jonathon might be evil, we get glimpses that Jonathan might be good, and we definitely know, at the end, that her brother has gone off the deep end.
Then comes that ending. What the hell? Not to completely spoil things, but let’s just say that it got really twisted with the brother, we really don’t know the fate of the family, and I think there was some relation to Gitty finding and gutting some road kill with something similar happening with her dad early in the movie. The problem then was that I didn’t have the desire to actually restart the movie to see the correlation.
Gosh, I wanted a better ending, at least for me. The story was good enough, the movie looked good, and the story, complete with a wonderful dream sequence of Gitty’s conflict, was moving along. Yay. Then the fable almost turned into shock-value, and back trying to get to fable. Boo.
Peyton Kennedy was wonderful as Gitty, portraying a girl who loved escaping the real world of her family falling part into the wonderfulness of stories, and I really liked Richard Schiff as Jonathan, doing his best to reel Gitty in to try to help him escape, yet every now and then showing a “he’s a mean man” side.
Leaving things be, I’ll just go with 3 stars out of 5 for “American Fable.” I so wish writer/director Anne Hamilton could have wrapped up a lovely story with a better ending, but I was let down. If you want to have to contemplate on the movie a bit, and come up with your own interpretation, you might like it.
On the DVD about the only thing extra were some deleted scenes. Normal enough that they ended up on the cutting room floor, especially the scene between Jonathan and Abe in the silo as we really got to see Abe’ true nature, which would have screwed up the ending even more.
That’s it for this one! L8R!!