Once Upon A River
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s acclaimed 2011 novel reaches the screen as a taut and uncompromising drama with echoes of Deliverance and Winter’s Bone.
Rural Michigan in the mid-1970s is a tough place for Native American teenager Margo Crane (impressive newcomer Kenadi DelaCerna). Her mother abandoned the family the year before and although she enjoys learning about living off the land from her father, she finds herself drawn to his half-brother, Cal. However, after a serious event, Margo is forced to go on the run and decides to make her way down the nearby Stark River in search of her mother.
Haroula Rose’s feature directorial debut, which she also wrote, is rich in atmosphere, capturing a particular era of Americana. It is also a study in solitude and an exploration of the way we interact in the world. Margo’s journey is not only to escape recent events and to find her mother, but to accept that living often requires the help and benevolence of others.