Ty Burr
March 27, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Ulee's Gold

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
118 minutes
Wide Release Date
06/06/97
performer
Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson, Jessica Biel, Christine Dunford
director
Victor Nunez
distributor
Orion Pictures
author
Victor Nunez
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

ULEE’S GOLD Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson (1997, Orion, R, $99.99) As long as he keeps his camera tightly focused on the domestic dysfunctions of Ulysses Jackson (Fonda) — Florida beekeeper, Vietnam vet, failed father, stoic grandfather — writer-director Victor Nunez (”Ruby in Paradise”) strikes one note of fuddled human grace after another.

It’s only when Ulee, helping his jailbird son out of a jam, gets involved with a pair of thugs and a cooler full of cash that Ulee’s naively courts cliches. As for Oscar-nominated Fonda, he’s a welcome, unsettling sight: Those shell-shocked blue eyes still hold the world at bay, but for once it works for the character he’s playing. ”You are almost a good man, Ulee Jackson,” says Richardson’s nurse Connie, Ulee’s love interest, ”but you try too hard.” That about nails the movie as well.

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