American Fable

| July 13, 2017

When young Gitty, Peyton Kennedy, finds a man (Richard Schiff; The West Wing) she believes can grant wishes trapped in her family’s silo, she’s torn between letting her new friend go and protecting her family, who may have imprisoned him there in the first place.

Writer/Director Anne Hamilton has put together a cool little movie here.  Set in Reagan’s America with farmers forced to foreclose left and right, Abe (Kip Purdue; Remember the Titans) and his pregnant wife Sarah (Marci Miller; Days of our Lives) can barely make ends meet when a mysterious stranger (Zuleikha Robinson) starts coming over with bags of cash and cryptic conversation.  The film is told from Gitty’s point of view, so we the audience don’t know what the woman, Vera, is asking Gitty’s parents to do, or what it has to do with the man trapped in the silo, but we get to see her figure it out and make decisions based on finding herself in an increasingly complicated situation.  Peyton Kennedy is very good in the role too, and it’s nice to see that she is continuing to get work.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see Kip Purdue show up in a movie.  I’ve always liked him but haven’t seen him in anything in years.  I never got to see him make the leap from 20 something to 40 something characters so seeing him play the father of these two children is a bit disorienting for me, but I think he does it naturally and with a lot of charm.  The relationship he creates with the kids feels authentic and when he and Gitty are hanging out on screen, it’s a highlight of the film.

The best part of the film is Richard Schiff, who plays some sort of banker responsible for foreclosing on people’s farms or maybe tries to buy the land cheap and make it profitable.  It’s not entirely clear, but his friendship with Gitty is simultaneously sweet and tense.  Early in the film, Abe tells Gitty a story about a mouse who finds a trapped lion crying for help and decides to free it, and the lion not only eats the mouse, but eats its entire family.  This is meant to foreshadow something horrible happening as Gitty gets closer to Johnathan (Schiff) and creates a wonderful inevitability in their relationship that something bad is going to happen.  How the film treats this aspect of the relationship is not one of the stronger points of the film, but I did enjoy watching them grow closer and develop as they play off each other.

Available now on DVD from IFC Films.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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