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At first sight the film seems to be the result of a joke that has got out of hand...

Director John O'Brien follows in his film the 72-year-old farmer Fred Tuttle. Tuttle is partly an invalid, can no longer pay his taxes and medical care and is in danger of losing his farm. His old father (96) has a wonderful idea: son Fred has to go into politics. Politician is after all the only career you can choose without diploma, without being young and it also pays well. Tuttle starts a campaign with hilarious consequences. His fellows in the small town of Tunbridge in Vermont are so charmed with their Fred, that his campaign is successful too. The film looks more innocent than it is. The images focus on the idyllic surroundings (the America of the paintings of Norman Rockwell) and the unpolished charm of the countryside. Simple melodies and ironic commentary strengthen the tone of mild parody.But under this layer of poignancy, hides an unruly film that defends the interests of forgotten citizens like Tuttle. There are plenty of people in his hopeless position in today's America and the film leaves no doubt about that, despite its gentle tone. Some people actually voted for Tuttle, not without a reason.

Gertjan Zuilhof
26th International Film Festival Rotterdam

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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