Ethan Frome is an adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1911 novella . Set in Massachusetts in the late-19th century, the film relates the sad story of reclusive farmer Ethan Frome (Liam Neeson). Considering himself too homely for romance, he enters into a loveless marriage with the wealthy but spiteful Zeena (Joan Allen). Things become nearly unendurable when Zeena becomes an invalid, imperiously demanding her husband's attentions day and night. Ethan seeks solace in an affair with Zeena's pretty cousin Mattie Silver (Patricia Arquette), who has arrived to act as housekeeper. Produced on behalf of PBS' American Playhouse, Ethan Frome was released theatrically in late 1992.