Stone Boy

The Stone Boy

Director: Christopher Cain

Cast: Christopher Cain, Robert Duvall, Jason Presson, Frederic Forrest

     
 
In this tightly-wound, perceptive film, a young farm boy kills his older brother when a shotgun accidentally goes off then retreats into a shell of silence as his family seems to react against him. Arnold (Jason Presson) and his brother get up at the crack of dawn to go duck hunting, but their happy plans take a tragic turn when Arnold's shotgun gets caught in a

Overview

In this tightly-wound, perceptive film, a young farm boy kills his older brother when a shotgun accidentally goes off then retreats into a shell of silence as his family seems to react against him. Arnold (Jason Presson) and his brother get up at the crack of dawn to go duck hunting, but their happy plans take a tragic turn when Arnold's shotgun gets caught in a barbed wire fence and accidentally goes off, killing his older brother. Arnold is in shock, he sits by his brother's side, he irrationally wanders in a pea patch, slowly picking the vegetables. When he finally goes home and manages to articulate what happened, his parents ignore him in their own grief. His father Joe (Robert Duvall) thinks Arnold does not have a clue about what he did because he just stands there, not speaking or communicating anything at all -- like a stone. Arnold's mother may not understand his behavior -- this is a Montana farming couple, not a pair of psychologists -- but she is not as judgmental as her husband. The family's grief causes some aberrant behavior, making the life of Arnold's next-door Aunt Lu miserable (her philandering husband is taking off after the dead boy's girlfriend), and Arnold senses a kindred spirit in the woman. But his grandfather is the only one who understands that the family should not mistreat Arnold, that he is suffering so intensely he simply cannot express it. When Arnold runs away, escaping to the city of Reno, there is some hope that the boy will find a much-needed emotional release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Inspired by the financial struggles of the small family farm, a vital social and political issue in the United States at the time, Hollywood produced a spate of dramas in the mid-1980s concerned with the tribulations of heartland families. Somewhat atypical in its psychological emphasis, The Stone Boy (1984) was still firmly rooted in this category. The story of a Midwestern farm family nearly destroyed by grief, and a young boy's odd reaction to his culpability in his brother's accidental death, was based on a short story by Gina Berriault. The Stone Boy was praised for its spare dialogue, its frank, non-manipulative tone, and its remarkably beautiful location photography, all qualities that were hallmarks of the other films of its kind, which included Tender Mercies (1983), Country (1984), Places in the Heart (1984) and The River (1984). It was directed by Christopher Cain, who earned kudos in only his second outing behind the camera for his assured hand with the film's top-notch cast, which included Robert Duvall and Wilford Brimley. Both actors gave noteworthy performances as gruff, stoic country patriarchs, character types they often inhabited. The Stone Boy also starred Glenn Close, Frederic Forrest, and the impressive young Jason Presson as the film's mute hero. Smaller roles were filled by actress Gail Youngs, who was then Duvall's real-life wife, Linda Hamilton, and the director's stepson, actor Dean Cain, who made his feature film debut as the accident victim. Generous government subsidies eventually proved a short-term solution for the ailments of the family farm and the popularity of the breed waned, with only such occasional forays as Miles From Home (1988) and the PBS documentary The Farmer's Wife (1998).

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2005
UPC:
0013131307498
Original Release:
1984
Rating:
PG
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:31:00

Special Features

Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Duvall Joe Hillerman
Jason Presson Arnold Hillerman
Frederic Forrest Andy Jansen
Glenn Close Ruth Hillerman
Wilford Brimley George Jansen
Gail Youngs Lu Jansen
Cindy Fisher Amalie
Mayf Nutter Gary
Susan Blackstone Nora Hillerman
Dean Cain Eugene Hillerman
Kenneth Anderson Sheriff
Ken Magee Sam Sullivan
Quentin Rhoades Clint Mathews
Steve "Patalay" Tsigonoff Barker
Timothy Phillips Chuck
John L. Strandell Sheriff
Mary Ellen Trainor Doris Simms
Ron Presson Amalie's Uncle
Sharon Thomas Casino Waitress
Linda Hamilton Eva Crescent Mood Lady
Pat Hustis Man in Suit

Technical Credits
Christopher Cain Director
John Beal Score Composer
Gina Berriault Screenwriter
Josh Bleibtreu Sound/Sound Designer
Daniel M. Farrell Associate Producer
Patricia A. Garhardt Makeup
James Horner Score Composer
Mayf Nutter Songwriter
Joseph G. Pacelli Production Designer
Penny Perry Casting
James G. Robinson Executive Producer
Joe Roth Producer
Paul Rubell Editor
Juan Ruiz-Anchia Cinematographer
Gail Viola Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. It's Still Dark [6:20]
2. Eugene Is Dead [7:11]
3. Remembering [6:43]
4. Only the Good Die Young [5:20]
5. Someone to Talk To [5:36]
6. Suspicion [3:47]
7. No Kind Words [5:54]
8. Grandpa Spends the Night [4:05]
9. Consequences [7:29]
10. Thoughts of Leaving [5:12]
11. Shrinking Responsibility [8:06]
12. A Father's Request [4:40]
13. Running Away [3:45]
14. Sorrow [5:31]
15. Returning Home [8:44]
16. End Credits [2:41]

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