From the Chicago Reader (June 16, 1997). — J.R.
On the strength of this film and Ruby in Paradise, Florida independent Victor Nuñez may actually be the best director of actors in American movies right now. See what he does here with someone as unpromising as Peter Fonda, not to mention Jessica Biel, J. Kenneth Campbell, and the wonderful Patricia Richardson. When the beauty of his writing is factored in with the solid, patient realism of his direction — in both his adaptations (Gal Young ‘Un, A Flash of Green) and his more recent originals — he seems to be one of our most adept novelistic filmmakers as well. The only limitation of his fourth feature is a story that’s fairly familiar, both as an account of personal redemption — Fonda as a Vietnam vet, beekeeper, widower, and grandfather trying to hold the remainder of his family together — and as a crime story involving the former cronies of the veteran’s wayward and incarcerated son. Still, this is so stylistically fresh and sensitively nuanced that you aren’t likely to mind much. (JR)