Review: “American Fable”
The farming crisis of the 80s was devastating for many Midwestern families. losing their livelihoods, and in some cases committing suicide, farmers across America were suffering and their families were as well. In writer/director Anne Hamilton‘s new film “American Fable”, she uses that period of catastrophic loss as a backdrop, for the story of young dreamer Gitty (Peyton Kennedy).
Gitty lives, in her mind, a pretty idyllic life. She spends her days running through the cornfields that span her family’s farm, daydreaming about fantastical, horned horse riders, and enjoying the love shown by her dutiful parents. Her brother Martin (Gavin MacIntosh) is a bully, and cruelly picks on his sister in sometimes shocking ways, but her relationships with her mother (Marci Miller) and especially her father (Kip Pardue) are more than enough to see her through the pain her brother causes.
Unfortunately, there are things happening that Gitty is unaware of. Her father Abe is trying desperately not to let his family farm be another in a long line of failed farms in the area. As often happens in times of personal crisis, Abe has turned to doing some questionable things to get the money needed to save his family. Gitty begins to discover this, when she hears a voice coming from a silo on a secluded area of the farm. A man in tattered business clothes pleads for Gitty to help him, and also warns her that she can’t let anyone know she has seen him. Then, when a mysterious woman (Zuleikha Robinson) starts showing up at the house and talking in sinister tones to Abe and his wife Sarah, Gitty starts to put things together and realize that her family is in grave danger.
Hamilton does a terrific job at showing us the world through Gitty’ s eyes. The setting of the farm morphs into something far more dreamlike and magical, and every shadow in the sun-drenched fields present an ominous threat as dangers begin to creep into Gitty’s life. Young Peyton Kennedy gives a splendid performance, and beautifully captures the innocence and bravery of her character. The rest of the cast are good too, especially Richard Schiff as the scared man in the silo.
Feeling like something from the likes of Guillermo Del Toro or Terrence Malick (who Hamilton interned for), “American Fable” quickly casts a spell on the viewer and sustains it until the climactic finale. It has gorgeous cinematography by Wyatt Garfield, and a great ensemble cast. I look forward to seeing what Hamilton does next, as I thoroughly enjoyed this film.