A story about the amazing places life can take you.
Premiered: September 13th, 1999 at Toronto International Film Festival, in U.S. theaters on January 21st, 2000.
Directed by: Scott Elliott
MPAA Motion Picture Rating: Rated R for some sexuality and language
Sigourney Weaver … as Alice Goodwin
Julianne Moore … as Theresa Collins
David Strathairn … as Howard Goodwin
Chloë Sevigny … as Carole Mackessy
Dara Perlmutter … as Emma Goodwin
Kayla Perlmutter … as Claire Goodwin
Marc Donato … as Robbie Mackessy
Richard McMillan … as Lloyd
Hayley Lochner … as Audrey Collins
Victoria Rudiak … as Lizzy Collins
Ron Lea … as Dan Collins
Brenda Robins … as Mrs. Bowman
Colleen Williams … as Nurse
Sarah Rosen Fruitman … as Little Alice
Status: Out on DVD.
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Alice Goodwin (Sigourney Weaver) lives with her husband (David Strathairn) and children on a Wisconsin farm, where her outspoken ways have caused her to become isolated from much of the local community. Her only real friend is Theresa (Julianne Moore), and the two women regularly babysit each other’s kids; but when Theresa’s daughter accidentally drowns one day while in Alice’s care, even that friendship reaches an end. When a local boy then falsely accuses Alice of molesting him, she is arrested and sent to jail, and her family begins to fall apart under the pressure.
Chloë Sevigny appears in the film in a supporting role as Carole Mackessy.
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Select quotations regarding the film from Chloë Sevigny and her co-workers:
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A Map of the World received generally favorable reviews, but was unable to reach a wider audience upon its January 2000 theatrical release. Sigourney Weaver was particularly commended for her lead performance and received a Golden Globe nomination for her work, but the film was also criticized for its uneven storytelling and bleak mood which probably hampered its commercial success.
Excerpts from professional reviews:
“The movie is downbeat and a bit ragged narratively. But at the center of “A Map of the World” is a great performance. Sigourney Weaver is so daring and amazing, her veracity is at times painful to behold. It’s a puzzle that this admittedly small independent film isn’t getting wider play. One hopes it’s not because the content is too troubling, or that it’s been identified by bookers as too much a ‘women’s” film.’ So many times, Weaver has played strong, self-assured women. But here she is vulnerable, brutalized (though not really victimized) and painfully alone. Weaver’s instinct for the part is amazing — her portrayal of Alice is one of those rare performances that awaken a new vision of what is possible for actors to reach. There are other resounding performances, and part of the pleasure of watching is that Weaver’s exceptional work never overpowers that of Julianne Moore as Theresa, the friend whose daughter is lost in the pond, and David Strathairn as Alice’s husband, Howard. He’s a simple but self-absorbed guy, and his drive to keep the farm afloat also keeps him from seeing the full dimensions of his wife’s fall from grace. […] A Map of the World may be too painful and downbeat for many moviegoers. But it redefines courage in acting.”
– Peter Stack, SF Gate
“There are good performances all through the movie. […] David Strathairn plays Howard, Alice’s husband, and Julianne Moore and Ron Lea play their farm neighbors — just about their only friends. When Alice spends time in prison, she gets a hard time from an inmate (Aunjanue Ellis), who senses (correctly) that this woman may have dug her own grave. And there is a small but crucial role for Chloe Sevigny, who in several recent movies (Boys Don’t Cry, julien donkey-boy and the upcoming American Psycho) shows an intriguing range. As for Julianne Moore, see Stanley Kauffmann’s praise in a recent New Republic review, where he finds her grief “a small gem of truthful heartbreak.” The movie is not tidy. Like its heroine, it doesn’t follow the rules. It breaks into parts. It seems to be a family story, and then turns into a courtroom drama, and then into a prison story, and there is intercutting with romantic intrigue, and there aren’t any of the comforting payoffs we get in genre fiction. I’m grateful for movies like this; Being John Malkovich and Three Kings, so different in every other way, resemble A Map of the World in being free — in being capable of taking any turn at any moment, without the need to follow tired conventions. And in Sigourney Weaver, the movie has a heroine who would be a lot happier if she weren’t so smart. Now there’s a switch.”
– Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com
“Where an ordinary film would turn Alice’s predicament into a heartbreaking sobfest, A Map of the World, which reopens today in Manhattan after a brief run in December, doesn’t make it so easy for us. Headstrong and mercurial, Alice reacts to misfortune with a perverse, zany combativeness. Although she is clearly innocent of wrongdoing, she can be infuriating. And Ms. Weaver’s extraordinarily penetrating performance captures every shade of self-hatred, defiance, guilt, exasperation and impatience that Alice experiences, as well as showing us her love for her family. […] Scott Elliott, a New York theater director who is making his screen debut with A Map of the World, has won acclaim for the hyper-realistic ensemble performances he puts on the stage. He brings the same microscopic psychological detail to bear here, plunging us into the near chaos of family life with young children and making us feel its stress as well as its joy. […] A Map of the World has its flaws. The voice-over narrations that preface and end the movie are stiff and not clear enough. And when Alice finally gets her day in court, the trial is dispensed with too quickly. Still, not since Fred Schepisi’s 1988 film A Cry in the Dark has a movie gotten this deeply under the skin of a woman who finds herself a modern-day Salem witch. And Ms. Weaver’s amazingly self-effacing performance, like Meryl Streep’s in the earlier film, is a marvel.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Awards & Nominations
A Map of the World has received 4 awards and 5 award nominations.
• National Board of Review Award (1999): Best Independent Picture
• National Board of Review Award (1999): Best Supporting Actress (Julianne Moore)
• National Board of Review Special Recognition (1999): For Excellence in Filmmaking
• National Society of Film Critics Award, 2nd Place (2000): Best Supporting Actress (Julianne Moore)
• Cairo International Film Festival Golden Pyramid (2000)
• Golden Globe (2000): Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
• Golden Satellite Award (2000): Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Sigourney Weaver)
• Golden Satellite Award (2000): Best Screenplay, Adapted
• San Sebastián International Film Festival Golden Seyshell (1999)
Chloë Sevigny Online
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