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Marilee J. Layman

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05:51 pm: Off the Map
When I read the blurb on the Netflix packet and saw it had a young girl and a depressed father, I thought "oh no." But this is a much better movie. It's set in 1974 when a family (Sam Elliott, Joan Allen, and Valentina de Angelis) heads west to New Mexico and live on what they kill, raise, and trade for, bringing in $5K a year. The movie is a flashback with Amy Brenneman as the adult daughter doing occasional voiceover, and her younger self is self-sufficient and knows what she wants. J.K. Simmons plays the father's best friend, who like the others is trying to bring the father out of his almost literally paralyzing depression. Then the tax man (Jim True-Frost) shows up. They knew they didn't need to pay taxes, but they didn't know they needed to file. The tax man is stung by a bee from one of their hives and comes near death from an allergic reaction. His look at life changes and he becomes part of the "family" and an artist.

Watching the people change and how each one does was really great. Excellent cast and good acting -- I like that in a movie.

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