Coming to theaters from writer/director Angus MacLachlan and Gravitas Ventures comes the story of siblings and history with “Abundant Acreage Available.”
Jesse (Terry Kinney) and his sister Tracy (Amy Ryan) are in mourning over the recent death of their father. Deciding to bury him in the middle of the crop field, Tracy wants her father to be in a fitting place and not a cemetery. Jesse tries to understand her reasoning’s and agrees to let it happen as long as when spring comes they take him to the cemetery.
A few days later Tracy discovers three elderly men sleeping in a tent on their farmland. Introducing themselves as Hans (Max Gail), Charles (Steve Coulter) and Tom (Francis Guinan) it becomes clear quickly that these men once lived on this very same farm. Jesse is fascinated with the men and their story but Tracy is immediately on edge.
Jesse decides without discussing it with Tracy that he wants to return the farmland to the brothers. Tracy is absolutely livid believing that he is making the decision for hurtful reasons. Trying to explain herself to Charles, they seem to have a connection of people who have spent their whole life taking care of other people.
Hans and Jesse spend a lot of time getting to know one another, especially when it is clear that both he and brother Tom aren’t in the best of health. Tom manages to shock every chance he gets with his outbursts of language that sets Tracy on edge. That’s when she speaks with Hans who wants one thing – for he and Tom to be buried with their father in the same way Tracy and Jesse buried their own father.
Still not knowing what decision Jesse will make, Tracy agrees to do what Hans asks. Finally, Charles brings his family home to the farm and his decision gives Tracy hope, that is until Jesse lets her know that he has made his own decision as well.
Ryan as Tracy is absolutely fantastic and riveting to watch. She is a woman surrounded by men making decisions about her life when her whole life has been that way. The frustration and lack of respect for her feelings goes continually unnoticed or she is placated by the wants of the men around her. Overruled by her brother, her life is once again on hold. Ryan gives every ounce of that in her performance and it is painfully beautiful to watch.
Kinney as Jesse has issues of his own that are just crazy to my way of thinking. He makes decisions without consulting Tracy for reasons that are pure jaw-dropping. It is almost as if he placates her to keep the peace but has no problem with continuing a course of action that is completely nuts. Kinney’s character is what I call quietly underhanded taking control of his sister instead of releasing her to live a life she has missed.
Gail as Hans watches the exchange between Jesse and Tracy but continues with his own plan of bringing the family ‘home’ as it were. In a final effort to reach Tracy, he lays in a field with his brother Tom begging to know that their wishes will come to pass by her hand. Guinan as Tom is the one character in this film that is never predictable and doesn’t have an agenda. He is remembering what he can of his childhood and throwing in a few moments of Tourette’s for good measure. This character brings out uncomfortable laughter in a situation that is already amazingly uncomfortable.
Coulter as Charles understands the frustrations that Tracy is feeling. There is almost a connection between the two and brothers Hans and Tom both see it. Wanting the best for their brother, they seem to push the two together wanting both Charles and Tracy to perhaps have a life together that both have missed.
“Abundant Acreage Available” is a slow-paced story that takes every frame and makes the viewer beg to know which way it will all go. There is unpredictability and sadness in the storyline that needs to be felt and boy did I feel it. Of course, I sided with Tracy and not because she is the only woman in the film but because of how her family feelings were just set aside because of where she came from.
When I thought all hope for anyone understanding her was gone – the final scene is everything glorious. It is said that carrying the weight of pain and fear will break backs and Tracy has a moment of clarity releasing it all and I cheered for her…literally got up and cheered! Brava Amy Ryan, Brava!
Shot on a wide-open farm with only five characters in a worn farmhouse forces us to strip back anything like cgi or effects and deal with the humanity and history of these siblings. Nothing like raw emotion!
In the end – a legacy comes home!