Far and Away (1992) poster

Far and Away was the second of three films Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman made together, and the first after their ultimately doomed marriage.

The film’s critics say it’s a bit corny, has a contrived plot, and that Cruise and Kidman don’t have the greatest on-screen chemistry.

I can’t say these critiques are inaccurate, but they don’t matter to me.

Sometimes you just want an old-fashioned, big budget romantic melodrama about the American Dream.

And when you do, you can’t do better than Far and Away.

Ernest and sentimental, Ron Howard directs this tale of Irish immigrants traveling to America for the Oklahoma land race of 1889.

Cruise plays Joseph Donnelly, a poor Irish peasant who sets out to kill the landlord who burned down his father’s home for unpaid rents.  Instead, he ends up running away with the landlord’s daughter Shannon (Nicole Kidman), a spoiled rich girl bored with her life who insists to a skeptical Joseph that America has so much land they’re giving it away for free.

They pose as brother and sister to get a room they can afford, and both deny their growing attraction.  America suits the hard scrabble Joseph, who soon has a job, a roof, and a chance to save enough money to get to Oklahoma in time for the land race.

It’s tougher for Shannon, who’s grown up with servants waiting on her hand and foot.  She’s dismayed to have to work in a factory plucking chickens and sleep on a dirty mattress.

Joseph thinks she’ll turn tail and run back to Ireland the first chance she gets.

But it turns out Shannon is made of sterner stuff.

There’s bare-knuckle boxing, Tom Cruise riding a horse, romance, adventure, and a dramatic reenactment of the Oklahoma land race.

What a time to be alive in America!

It checks every box for me.

I could hardly make a list of films I love short enough to not include this one.

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry:  Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge!How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust | The Man in the Moon | The Others | Little Women | Cruella | Sliding Doors |