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Reviewed for and, linked to Rotten Tomatoes by Harvey Karten
Director: Joe Hall
Screenwriter: Joe Hall
With: Ben Winchell, Will Brittain, Aimee Teegarden, Alisa Allapach, Jayh O. Sanders, Jennifer Holliday, Jill Hennessy, Margaret Colin
Screening at: Critics’ link, NYC, 06/16/22
Opening: July 8, 2022

In 1919, American soldiers stationed in Europe were returning from the war, many of them having seen Europe for the first time in their lives. Walter Donaldson, Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis capitalized on this idea with the song that goes “How ya gonna keep ’em/ Down on the farm/ After they’ve see Paree”. After one hundred and three years, writer-director Joe Hall answers the question. In the “Road to Galena”, Hall, in his feature debut, might reply that if farm life is in your blood, you can be offered the Taj Mahal, the jewels of Topkapi, and maybe Greenland at provided you live where these treasures are found, and you will always return to the farm. He doesn’t mention Paris or any of the other incentives, but finds a guy who gets a job that lets him drive a BMW, be a member of a country club, get invites to galas in Washington, and goes account to his dismay that life passes. him by. Eh?

Ben Winchell as Cole Baird almost makes us believe he’d throw away the toys and all the perks that come with corporate law if he could be, damn it, just a country lawyer with a farm. It’s not that he’s encouraged to follow his low-end dreams. His father John (Jay O. Sanders), his mother Teresa (Jill Hennessey), his wife Sarah (Alisa Allapach), his boss Margaret (Margaret Colin), his best friend Jack (Will Brittain), all disturb Cole’s mind. , but damn it if Cole doesn’t wrestle with his conscience and find the right thing to do. Only her former friend Elle (Aimee Teegarden) regrets that her boyfriend is going to university and then to law school. She would have preferred Cole to continue doing what heaven put him on this earth to do.

If it looks like soap, it is; in fact, it could easily find a spot on daytime TV, heralded, of course, by the card you buy when you care enough to send the best. Still, it’s quite entertaining, its inhabitants filled with humanity. There is the dad who tells him that the desire to be a farmer is a romantic misconception. Independent farmers are not doing well, especially with big farming grabbing their land after slashing local prices and putting them out of business. The father is himself a man who dreamed of being a Wall Street banker and has to settle for a job in the small town of Galena, Maryland, on the east coast of this state.

Ben Winchell puts on a fine performance, almost making us believe he’s considering giving up a bar association to go for the simpler things in life. Although Henry David Thoreau maintained that “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation and will go to the grave with the song still in them”, he may not have thought of men who earn more than a million dollars a year with today’s money. But writer-director Joe Hall could easily love being a partner for the Hallmark card folks.

113 minutes. © 2022 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Onli

History – C+
Acting – B
Overall – B-


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