review for Ulee's Gold on AllMovie

Ulee's Gold (1997)
by Matthew Doberman review

Ulee's Gold is a subtle, powerful film about family, sadness and obligation. Writer-director Victor Nuñez crafts a careful portrait of Ulee (Peter Fonda), a wounded but decent man who refuses to turn his back on those who have turned their backs on him in the past. The film succeeds by immersing us in the deliberate, haunted life of the tightly-drawn title character, played to perfection by the similarly stoic Peter Fonda; the actor received an Oscar nomination for his work. Patricia Richardson of TV's Home Improvement provides a thoughtful turn as the neighbor who inches her way into Ulee's life. Some may find the film's pace trying, but there are several scenes of surprising tension, as when Ulee is eventually forced to deal with his son's criminal cohorts. The scene evolves unconventionally, reflecting Nuñez's personal, uniquely independent approach with the material.