Liam Neeson in Ethan Frome (1993)

A Snowy Love Triangle

When Reverend Smith (Tate Donovan) arrives in the snowy Vermont village he unsurprisingly coming to the attention of various single women. What he also discovers is a local crippled man, Ethan (Liam Neeson), who for the most ignored by the other villagers. The Reverend learns that Ethan had married his distant cousin Zeena (Joan Allen) but it was a marriage of practicality as Zeena's constant sickness means there was little in the form of love between them. But Ethan then found himself falling for another after Mattie (Patricia Arquette) moved in to help them.

Those who read my reviews will know that I am not a big reader and as such it shouldn't come as a big surprised when I say I haven't read Edith Wharton's novel from which "Ethan Frome" is adapted. The thing is that whilst this isn't usually a problem in the case of "Ethan Frome" I feel it is as this is a movie with a story which has limited appeal, the sort of story which you need to already know to get in to. I suppose in a way it makes it a movie you need to watch twice, once to discover the story and a second time to pick up on the details. I haven't for the simple reason that the story just didn't captivate me the first time around.

Now that story, as I saw it, was all about a man who married his sick cousin but ended up in love with the young woman who was sent to help. There is more to it than that but that is the crux of it with the Reverend Smith learning all about this and how he ended up to be a crippled hermit. For me the best part of all this was the cinematography thanks to it being filmed in a snowy location with old buildings which lends itself to some great shots. But there is also a powerful and soulful performance from Liam Neeson, the sort of performance where the looks he gives say more than the words he says.

What this all boils down to is that "Ethan Frome" with one of those stories and a style which I am sure will appeal mostly to fans of literature. But even if it doesn't captivate you with the story the movies look and the performance from Liam Neeson still has something to offer.