A River Runs Through It

An admirable if frequently soporific 1992 adaptation of Norman Maclean’s account of life in Missoula, Montana, between 1910 and 1935, with particular concentration on the importance of fly fishing to the young Maclean (Craig Sheffer), his dissolute brother (Brad Pitt), and their father (Tom Skerritt), a Presbyterian minister. Though it’s made as a labor of love, with a carefully fashioned script by Richard Friedenberg and attentive direction by Robert Redford that takes full advantage of the area’s beautiful scenery, none of this ever quite compensates for the lack of a strong story line. Much better than Redford’s The Milagro Beanfield War though not quite as dramatic as Ordinary People, this may work for you if you settle at the outset for a nostalgic, all-American mood piece. With Brenda Blethyn, Emily Lloyd, Edie McClurg, and Stephen Shellen. PG, 123 min. (JR)

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