- 1 hr 39 min
Liam Neeson is the title character in this 1992 British-American drama directed by John Madden and co-starring Patricia Arquette and Joan Allen. Ethan Frome is an unhappily married small-town man, trapped in a loveless marriage. The movie is a flashback, illuminating the tale of Ethan's happier, younger days and how he met with the series of mishaps that led to his lameness. He is a well-known figure in his fictitious New England town of Starkfield Massachusetts, as is his wife, Zeena (Allen). Zeena seems genuinely ill, though apparent hypochondria is the only disability she suffers. Her constant ailments have placed a strain on her marriage to Ethan. When Zeena summons her young, beautiful cousin Mattie (Arquette) to help around the house, Ethan is instantly smitten. He escorts Mattie home from weekly dances she attends, often arriving at the dance hall early and lingering outside to spy on Mattie. When her performance as housekeeper and caretaker is under par, arousing Zeena's displeasure, Ethan defends Mattie. Zeena suspects Ethan's feeling for Mattie and plans to dismiss her. Zeena's disapproval is further inflamed by Mattie's apparent carelessness. When Zeena goes away for two days to consult a doctor in a nearby town, Ethan and Mattie share a platonic night together. During supper, the family cat accidentally breaks Zeena's favorite pickle dish, which Mattie had set upon the table. Zeena returns prematurely, announcing Mattie must go, and Ethan attempts to give Mattie advanced warning. Zeena interrupts their private meeting, inadvertently discovering her pickle dish is shattered. She blames Mattie and follows through with her scheme to get rid of the girl. Ethan intends to run away with Mattie, but guilt gets the better of him. En route to the train station, they impulsively decide to go sleigh riding, a ride that transforms their lives. Elegantly paced and told from a limited third-person viewpoint, Ethan From is a classic tale of love found and forfeited.