New York Times - 09/21/1983
"...[Steenburgen] radiates....[The film has] farfetched but unmistakable charm."
Variety - 05/25/1983
"...Very pleasant fare told with warmth and humor....Torn once again provides a thoroughly watchable and entertaining performance..."
Mary Steenburgen (MELVIN AND HOWARD) stars in this adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's classic novel about her experiences living in rural Florida during the 1920s and 1930s. Mixing together elements of both CROSS CREEK and THE YEARLING, director Martin Ritt creates a glowing period piece that finds the essence of both books. In the film, Mrs. Rawlings (Steenburgen), a New Yorker, buys an orange grove in the Florida swamps for the purpose of going there to write the gothic romance she can't seem to finish in the city. As soon as she arrives, Mrs. Rawlings becomes immersed in the colorful backwoods community that surrounds her grove, and acquires a young cook named Geechee (Woodard) as well as farm hands to work the groves. Enchanted by life in Cross Creek, Mrs. Rawlings finds herself writing not gothic romances, but tales of small town life in rural Florida. Next thing she knows, her stories catch the attention of a major publisher. A lyrical meditation on both rural life and the nature of creativity, Martin Ritt's film is filled with lush imagery and standout performances. In particular, Rip Torn's performance as Marsh Turner, a drunken but loving father, is outstanding, and it rightfully won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
A frustrated newspaper reporter turns her back on her cosmopolitan existence and takes up residence in the Florida Everglades. There she turns her efforts and attention to writing novels.