Synopsis by Mark Deming
Peter Fonda received a richly deserved Oscar nomination for his superb performance as Ulysses "Ulee" Jackson, a Florida beekeeper forced to put his splintered family back together. Ulee is a Vietnam veteran whose wife died several years ago, a blow he's still learning to live with. His son Jimmy (Tom Wood) is in prison, and his daughter-in-law Helen (Christine Dunford) ran away, leaving Ulee to raise their two daughters by himself. Ulee is a quiet man who has a hard time displaying warmth and does not always deal well with the rebellious children put in his care. But he possesses an intense inner strength and a firm sense of loyalty and responsibility. One day Ulee gets a call from Jimmy; he's received word that Helen has fallen in with a pair of drug dealers and is in sad shape. While he doesn't much care for the idea, Ulee heads out to rescue her, only to discover the men who have her were Jimmy's partners in the robbery that put him behind bars; they threaten Ulee by saying if they're not given the $100,000 Jimmy has stashed away, they'll come after his daughters. Meanwhile, Ulee is forced to deal with Helen's painful withdrawal from drugs; he gets some help from Connie (Patricia Richardson), a divorced nurse who has recently moved into the neighborhood and seems to understand Ulee's lonely stoicism. Written and directed with subtle intelligence by Victor Nuñez, Ulee's Gold is a moving story about the trials and responsibilities of family ties, with Peter Fonda leading a fine cast that delivers uniformly impressive work.
addiction, alienation, beekeeping, loneliness, protection, regret, revenge, veteran [military]
High Artistic Quality, Sleeper