Carried Away

on March 29, 1996 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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Based on the novel "Farmer" by Jim Harrison, this small-town triangle drama bends moral judgments to the breaking point. Joseph (Dennis Hopper) and Rosealee ("Crossing Delancey's" Amy Irving) are schoolteachers struggling to maintain a relationship. He's loved her for years but has trouble committing. Rosealee, tired of being a lonely widow, wants to marry him. Their regular routine takes a drastic detour when Joseph becomes lustfully preoccupied with one of his students, the sensual Catherine ("School Ties'" Amy Locane).
The film, which has full-frontal nudity of both Hopper and Irving and a Lady Godiva turn by Locane, targets a mature audience; some moviegoers will leave reflecting on the theme of missed opportunities, others will be disgusted. Having a 47-year-old and a girl three decades his junior be together could land this film in controversy (especially given that its slated debut date coincides with the expected start date of a much-publicized trial of a female grade-school teacher accused of raping a 12-year-old boy). However, the planned limited release pattern could mitigate this impact.
As for the movie itself, the performances are captivating, so much so that the film's sometimes slow pace is never a real problem. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, except for Gary Busey; as the student's father, he never conveys that he knows or even cares about what's happening with his daughter. Not only do the sex scenes provide periodic jolts, but the contrast between the homeliness of the town and the vitality of the lovemaking is made to seem like night and day. Starring Dennis Hopper and Amy Irving. Directed by Bruno Barreto. Written by Ed Jones. Produced by Lisa M. Hansen and Paul Hertzberg. A Fine Line release. Drama. Rated R for nudity, strong sexuality and language. Running time: 107 min
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