HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Road to Wellville, The Fitness Regime
Year: 1994
Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda, Matthew Broderick, John Cusack, Dana Carvey, Michael Lerner, John Neville, Colm Meaney, Traci Lind, Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim, Roy Brocksmith, Norbert Weisser, Monica Parker, Jacob Reynolds, Michael Goodwin
Genre: Comedy, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: The time is the early 1900s, and Dr John Harvey Kellogg (Anthony Hopkins) is the head of the one of the country's most popular sanitariums at Battle Creek. A young married couple, Eleanor (Bridget Fonda) and William Lightbody (Matthew Broderick) are travelling there by train at Eleanor's insistence, as she has attended the place before and found it most beneficial, but not so beneficial that she doesn't have to go back and take her husband with her. In the dining carriage, where Will asks for dry toast and a glass of water on account of his poor stomach, they meet Charles Ossining (John Cusack) who tells them he is visiting the town for a new business opportunity, but when Eleanor points out that the oysters he is eating swim in their own urine, Will is disgusted enough to throw up in another diner's lap. Yes, he needs help with his constitution all right, but is the Battle Creek Sanatarium all it's cracked up to be?

Director Alan Parker adapted T. Coraghessan Boyle's novel with a sure hand, but failed to bring it much success for despite the farcical nature of the story, there are few laugh out loud moments to be enjoyed (star Broderick thought it was especially poor). Although set at the turn of the nineteenth century, the film is really a lightly disguised attack on the fashions and fads of the health crusades of the nineteen-nineties, with Dr Kellogg's elaborate diets and contraptions for sustaining a well balanced lifestyle obviously standing in for something more contemporary. But that's not the only concern of the project, as the narrative is fairly straining at the seams with blatant allusions to father and son conflicts, sexual hang ups and the pitfalls of capitalism, all played out against the quaint background of the day.

When Will and Eleanor arrive, Eleanor is whisked away by a doctor she knows from previous visits and Will is wheelchaired away at Dr Kellogg's insistence to his own personal room as sexual encounters are frowned upon here - pretty unfortunate as the undernourished Will keeps hallucinating the women around him - Nurse Graves (Traci Lind), patient Miss Muntz (Lara Flynn Boyle) - in a state of undress. He is swiftly given a bath and an enema to calm him down, but his frustrations continue. Meanwhile, Charles meets his associate, Goodloe Bender (Michael Lerner), who we suspect (rightly) is a con artist but Charles is so keen to see their new cornflake business as a rival to Kellogg's he ignores his misgivings. And when the doctor's adopted, misfit son George (Dana Carvey) joins them, they have the excuse to use the Kellogg name on their packaging.

There's a serious undercurrent, too, which sends the playful tone lurching into sentimentality as when we learn that George was an orphan who just wants to be loved, or Will and Eleanor have recently lost their baby which has triggered the health obsession of Eleanor. Fortunately there's not too much of this, and Will finds himself the object of lust from both Nurse Graves and the overly pale Miss Muntz, who is suffering from a "green sickness". Then patients begin to die off thanks to the treatments, but little is developed in this area; more black comedy might have helped. And for all the talk of bodily functions, we see hardly any of them - perhaps thankfully - so when George starts throwing shit around it's in cornflake boxes. The Road to Wellville is nicely acted, with Hopkins' rabbit-toothed Kellogg both cartoonish and well observed, but there's a sense of petulance and impatience informing the view of its subject, not least when George wreaks havoc for the ending. Still, I can't think of many films like it. Music by Rachel Portman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4842 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Alan Parker  (1944 - 2020)

Stylish British director, from advertising, with quite a few musicals to his credit: Bugsy Malone, Fame, Pink Floyd The Wall, The Commitments (possibly his best film) and Evita. Elsewhere he has opted for serious-minded works like Midnight Express, Shoot the Moon, Birdy, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and The Life of David Gale. The Road to Wellville was a strange attempt at outright comedy.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: