Map of the World
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United States, 1999
U.S. Release Date: 1/21/00 (limited)
Running Length: 2:05
MPAA Classification: R (Nudity, sex, profanity)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, David Strathairn, Ron Lea, Arliss Howard, ChloŽ Sevigny, Louise Fletcher
Director: Scott Elliott
Producer: Willi Bar
Screenplay: Peter Hedges and Polly Platt, based on the novel by Jane Hamilton
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
Music: Pat Metheny
U.S. Distributor: First Look Pictures
Available on Video in Summer/Fall 2000
In a A Map of the World, Alice Goodwin, played by Sigourney Weaver,
undergoes a series of events that plummet her life into a pit most of us can
barely imagine, even less survive. How would you feel if what happened in
Alice Goodwin's life happened to you?
Alice Goodwin was a woman living comfortably in a large city who left her job
and friends to move with her family to a rural farming community.
After that, her life quickly unraveled: the young daughter of the only woman
willing to befriend her in her new town drowned while she was in Alice's care.
She was then arrested and criminally prosecuted after a student at the grade
school where she worked as a nurse falsely accused her of molesting him.
Then, separated from her husband and young son and daughter, she was jailed
while awaiting trial.
The only way her husband could raise her bail so she could be released
pending trial was for him to sell the farm he loved.
At that trial, Alice Goodwin's accuser and his mother both perjured
themselves during her trial.
A Map of the World portrays Alice Goodwin's downward spiral into her own
version of hell as she successively deals with all those situations.
However, the personal torment and confusion wasn't limited to Alice Goodwin.
Her husband tried to understand her state of mind as well as he could. He did
understand it when he sold his beloved farm to raise her bail, in that way
sharing his wife's pain and traumatic experience.
The movie's uncompromising portrait of the life of Alice Goodwin as it took a
series of downward twists may be one reason that in the spring of this year
it came and went from theaters in major cities in the blink of an eye. In
Seattle, for example, A Map of the World was shown at one theater on one
screen for one week, even though it has two major stars and the book on which it is based
was named as Oprah Winfrey's Book Club selection for December 1999.
The people behind this movie's production are to be commended for attempting
to realistically portray difficult situations that to varying degrees occur
to people across this country daily. The experiences Alice Goodwin endures
cause her to alter her perspective of what is important in her life, so at
the end she has a different "mental" Map of the World than when her story
If you're in the mood for an introspective movie that tries to deal with real
life issues, you may want to check out A Map of the World when it is
available on videocassette. An incentive to do so may be to find out the
verdict in her trial, and what happened in its aftermath.