Watch The Dollmaker
The Dollmaker is a 1984 drama film directed by Daniel Petrie and starring Jane Fonda, Levon Helm, and Amanda Plummer. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Harriette Arnow and tells the story of a Kentucky family forced to move to a northern industrial city during the Great Depression. The plot centers around their struggle to adapt to a new way of life and the challenges they face along the way.
Jane Fonda plays the role of Gertie, a talented woodcarver who is forced to leave her home and livelihood behind when her husband Clovis (Levon Helm) accepts a job in Detroit. Gertie is torn between her love for her family and her passion for woodworking, which she discovers is not in demand in the city. Her only solace comes from carving dolls, which she sells on the side.
Gertie's daughter Mamie (Amanda Plummer) is also struggling to adapt to her new surroundings. She is a gifted child who was forced to leave her friends and school behind. Mamie struggles in her new school and is bullied by her classmates. Her only friend is a boy named Kenny, who is also an outsider.
As the family faces financial difficulties, Gertie becomes increasingly desperate to make ends meet. Her woodcarvings are not selling, and she is forced to take a job in a factory, which takes her away from her family for long hours. Gertie becomes increasingly distant from her husband and children, consumed with the desire to achieve success in her craft.
Despite making friends and adapting to her new life, Mamie begins to feel like an outsider in her own family. Her father Clovis is distant and preoccupied with his work, and her mother Gertie is consumed with her doll-making. Mamie struggles to find her place in the family and in the world.
The Dollmaker is a poignant portrayal of a family struggling to survive during a difficult time in history. The movie captures the essence of the Great Depression and the struggles faced by families forced to leave their homes and start anew in unfamiliar surroundings. Through the eyes of Gertie and Mamie, the audience is taken on a journey of hardship and triumph, heartbreak, and hope.
The performances by the cast are exceptional, particularly those of Fonda and Plummer. Fonda's portrayal of Gertie is honest and raw, capturing the essence of a woman consumed by her passion for carving and her love for her family. Plummer shines in her role as Mamie, bringing depth and vulnerability to a character struggling to find her place in the world.
The film's setting and cinematography are also noteworthy. The contrast between the lush, green Kentucky countryside and the industrial landscape of Detroit is striking, emphasizing the family's displacement and the harsh reality of their new life. The camera work is at times gritty and raw, effectively conveying the family's struggles and emotions.
In conclusion, The Dollmaker is a powerful and moving film that captures the complexity and pain of a family's journey through the Great Depression. It is a testament to the human spirit's resilience and willingness to endure hardships in pursuit of a better life. The cast and crew have crafted a masterpiece that will stand the test of time, a must-watch for those seeking an honest portrayal of an important period in history.
The Dollmaker is a 1984 drama. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5.