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Ulee Jackson (Peter Fonda) is a solitary Florida beekeeper who, when not tending to his hives, is raising his grandchildren, Casey (Jessica Biel), a teenage rebel, and her younger sister Penny (Vanessa Zima). Their father, Jimmy (Tom Wood) is in prison, and their mother, Helen (Christine Dunford) is a drug addict. Ulee is a loner who refuses anyone's help or companionship, and wants nothing to do with his granddaughters' parents. When Jimmy calls, however, saying that Helen's in trouble with his former thug partners, Eddie Flowers (Steven Flynn) and Ferris Dooley (Dewey Weber), Ulee feels obliged to help. He finds Helen strung out on drugs, but worse yet, discovers that Jimmy hid some money from a robbery that Eddie and Ferris now want. As he takes Helen back home and gets help tending to her from Connie Hope (Patricia Richardson), a neighbouring nurse, he must deal with the two thugs who come looking for their money.

"This character-driven drama is a perfect showcase for veteran Peter Fonda, who delivers an extraordinarily controlled, understated performance; serene with underlying tones of emotional turmoil. "Bees can sense fear that lead to panic," says Ulee; this probably explains Ulee’s calm exterior. Fonda, at times eerily looking like father Henry, has aged very well. Or should I say, he hasn’t been ravaged by age, looking very much as he did in Easy Rider. It’s a sensitive script, showing how emotional distress and extraordinary events can seep into anyone’s lives, irrespective how decent and genuine they may be. The juxtapositioning of the serenity of bee keeping rituals in tranquil surroundings with the harsh emotional upheaval in Ulee’s family is an effective and moving experience. The development of the relationship between Ulee and the empathetic neighbour Connie (sensitively played by Patricia Richardson) is intriguing, as we edge our way just a little into a very private man’s world. It is satisfying to watch how a man with solid integrity and decency can deal with violence and aggression on his terms, without in any way changing his ideals. The supporting cast is terrific, and the stunning images from cinematographer Victor Nunez linger as being of somewhere beautiful and ethereal, with a pureness for which we all yearn. Ulee’s Gold is a jewel, a film of supreme beauty - a visual feast as well as a tonic for the spirit."
Louise Keller

"In this quietly evocative drama, Peter Fonda gives the performance of a lifetime, and it's Fonda's film. One is eerily reminded of the quiet, intelligent stoicism of his father, and it's this performance that resonates clearly to an audience starving for intelligent, character-based drama. A work of poetic perfection, Ulee is one of the most intricate and fascinating characters of recent memory, and within this film, creeps up on you as the unsuspecting drama so neatly unfolds. Superbly crafted and intelligently written, Ulee's Gold is not a film you see for fast paced mainstream action, for here is a movie of grace and eloquence; yet it's by no means dull. Lovers of artful and intelligent cinema, as well as those who enjoy what appears to be seamless acting on the part of Fonda, will relish the richness and fascination of this golden tale."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson, Chrisstine Dunford, Tom Wood, Jessica Biel, Vanessa Zima, Steven Flynn, Dewey Weber

DIRECTOR: Victor Nunez

PRODUCER: Sam Gowan, Peter Saraf

SCRIPT: Victor Nunez


EDITOR: Victor Nunez

COMPOSER: Charles Engstrom


PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert ‘Pat’ Garner

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 25, 1997

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