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Word Count: 476
The Grass Harp is told from the point of view of 16-year old Collin Fenwick Edward Furlong an orphaned boy who began living with his fathers cousins when he was 11 He is the lone male in a house of three women Theres Verena Sissy Spacek a humorless mousy woman whose entire life is devoted to making money Dolly Piper Laurie an insecure dreamer who is intimidated by her sister Verena and Catherine Nell Carter Dollys devoted friend A crisis brews when Verena and Dolly argue and Dolly decides to leave home Collin and Catherine accompany her and the small group decides to hide out in a nearby tree house It doesnt take long for word to get around town that theyre there and soon outcasts from the area seek out their companionship Judge Cool Walter Matthau regarded as senile by his family is the first to join the gang He is followed by a rootless young man named Riley Sean Patrick Flannery and an unmarried itinerant woman with fifteen children Mary Steenburgen When the sheriff Joe Don Baker instigated by Verena arrives to disband the company things turn ugly The Grass Harp which takes place in rural Georgia during 1940 tries for the feel of Fried Green Tomatoes Much like this years The Spitfire Grill it succeeds only on a superficial level failing to harness the deeper emotional currents of Jon Avnets 1992 picture And although The Spitfire Grill is clearly flawed it promotes better character identification than The Grass Harp Here when the inevitable death occurs its not as painful as it could or should be The Grass Harp is far more effective at delivering light humor than drama The brief exchange between old screen buddies Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon is delightful as are almost all of the scenes featuring Mary Steenburgen Aside from Steenburgens promiscuous revivalist and Matthaus judge however none of the characters are
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