The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
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The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
The true story of one woman's effort to keep her family afloat under difficult circumstances comes to the screen in this bittersweet comedy drama. Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore) was a woman of intelligence, talent, and pluck living in the small town of Defiance, OH, in the 1950s. Evelyn was married to Kelly Ryan (Woody Harrelson), a man who gave her ten children but not much else; Kelly had a severe drinking problem, struggled to hold on to a job, and tended to spend his money as soon as he earned it. It was seemingly up to Evelyn to support the family, but with ten kids to look after,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It makes for a nice Mother's Day card. But not enough for a complete movie."
‑ Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"An uneven but loving tribute to a remarkable woman -- who would, undoubtedly, have wished to rewrite it herself."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Defiance, Where? Female Compliance Behind and Before The Camera"
‑ Prairie Miller, WBAI Web Radio
"Far worse films with far lesser credentials have been given much fairer shots."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"... in another director's hands ... might have devolved into a truly terrifying Lifetime-style screed against the oppressiveness of the masculine ego"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Rarely do you have a movie in which both lead actors give Oscar-worthy performances, but Defiance, Ohio is one."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"What distinguishes Anderson's work is her obvious empathy with all of her characters, including Kelly Ryan, whom she does not demonize."
‑ Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"The script just dulls out."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"[Offers] an almost subversively idealistic subtext to a now-familiar ritual exposé of the American dream."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"...assembles an uneven but fairly inspirational package, manipulative in spots but with its heart in the right place."
‑ Todd Jorgenson, Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
"For once, a true story gets no romanticizing or needless embellishment to become a captivating movie."
‑ Susan Walker, Toronto Star
"Anderson can't do much with the inherent limitations of the hagiopic, which demands a repetitive litany of sacrifice and sanctity, with each hill and every valley designed to further enhance the landscape of inspiration."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"This Prize Winner is a winner for its smart portrayal of a resourceful woman who loved her family, loved words, and loved life."
‑ Lisa Ann Cockrel, Christianity Today
"Moore delivers one of the best performances of 2005."
‑ Pete Croatto,
"In the end, Prizewinner is surprisingly uplifting and proves to be more of a timeless, genderless feel-good story than a period chick flick."
‑ Mike Ward,
More reviews for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio on Rotten Tomatoes