Here’s a repost of a movie review I wrote in August 2015. It appears here as/is.
It may seem strange that I would review a 35 year old film. I’m not even one to watch a lot of movies these days. I decided to purchase a copy of Resurrection, a film made in 1980 starring Ellen Burstyn, Richard Farnsworth, and Sam Shepard, because I’ve had the soundtrack stuck in my head for what seems like ages. I used to watch Resurrection when HBO ran it all the time. Since I was a kid back then, I didn’t get all the nuances of the film as I did yesterday, when I watched it for the first time in probably 30 years.
Ellen Burstyn plays Edna Mae Macauley, a woman who had just bought her husband a new car. The two got in the car and went for a joyride along the Pacific coast, when a boy suddenly skateboarded in front of the car. Edna Mae’s husband swerved to avoid hitting the kid and they went over a cliff. Somehow, Edna Mae survived, despite the fact that neither of them wore seatbelts. Her husband died. I feel I should mention that there’s a pretty cheesy special effect when the car crashes. The screen goes black and we see shattering glass. It’s obviously very fabricated and fake, but gets the point across.
Edna Mae has a near death experience, where she sees friends and family who have passed on. Just as she’s getting comfortable going into the light, she gets sucked back to Earth.
Edna Mae wakes up in a hospital room. She is badly injured and winds up in a wheelchair. She moves back to her rural hometown in Kansas (actually Texas, which is where much of this movie was filmed). Her family takes care of her, though they are a bit reserved and God fearing. This is a stark contrast to Edna Mae’s warm, free spirited visage.
One day at a family picnic, one of the kids gets a bloody nose. Edna Mae takes the child in her arms and calms her down. The nosebleed miraculously stops. This is the first sign that Edna Mae now has healing powers. Eventually, she even heals herself and then starts to heal others. She has about a 70 percent success rate. Scientists want to study her.
She meets a man, the son of a Bible thumping zealot. They start a relationship, but he’s uncomfortable with her “powers”. Much of the movie is about their relationship, as well as the rocky one Edna Mae has with her father, who thinks of her as a whore. By the end of the film, we find out why he feels the way he does.
I think Resurrection is a really good movie and the ending is powerful. I’m surprised it took so long to become available on DVD, since it’s well-acted by people who have actual talent. Yes, if you buy this on DVD, you will get a published on demand copy, which carries some risks. I was pretty happy with the quality of the DVD I got.
I love watching films from the early 80s because they remind me of a time when life was simpler and we didn’t have so many stupid rules… and people weren’t always butting into other people’s business. Or, if they were, the whole world didn’t know about it. Besides that, I just think Resurrection is a gem of a film. And, while I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the concept of God or an afterlife, I do find the story kind of comforting.
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