Empire Falls (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Empire Falls2005

Empire Falls (2005)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Empire Falls Photos

Movie Info

This two-part HBO miniseries is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo. Having long since sacrificed youthful ideals and values to remain in his New England hometown for the sake of his family, middle-aged Miles Roby (Ed Harris) finds his "secure" little world disintegrating when his wife, Janine (Helen Hunt), divorces him. Equally vexing is the emotional and financial pressure exerted by domineering town matriarch Francine Whiting (Joanne Woodward), who owns (among other things) the Empire Grill, the little diner that Ed has run for several years. As he reflects on what he considers to be a wasted life, Ed flashes back to memories of his curmudgeonly father, Max (Paul Newman, who also executive-produced the miniseries); his long-dead mother, Grace (Robin Wright Penn); his scapegrace brother, David (Aidan Quinn); his blossoming daughter "Tick" (Danielle Panabaker); and Francine's late husband, C.B. Whiting (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Also tied in with Miles's reminiscences is the spectacular saga of the rise and fall of Empire Falls, a once-prosperous mill town that has fallen into disrepair -- as have the town's once-rigid and inviolate social barriers. Despite the initial bleakness of Miles' plight, and the revelation of innumerable family skeletons as the plot progresses, the story is ultimately both heartwarming and life-affirming. Filmed on location in Maine, Empire Falls originally aired on May 28 and 29, 2005.


Ed Harris
as Miles Roby
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as C.B. Whiting/Charlie Mayne
Helen Hunt
as Janine Roby
Paul Newman
as Max Roby
Robin Wright
as Grace Roby
Aidan Quinn
as David Roby
Joanne Woodward
as Francine Whiting
William Fichtner
as Jimmy Minty
Kate Burton
as Cindy Whiting
Trevor Morgan
as Zack Minty
Dennis Farina
as Walt Comeau
Estelle Parsons
as Bea Callahan
Adam LeFevre
as Father Mark
Larry Pine
as Otto Mayer
Matt Blumm
as Miles Roby (age 20)
Miles Chandler
as Young Miles
Claire Winters
as Young Cindy
David Altshuler
as Building Inspector
Carey Lowell
as Francine Whiting (age 40)
Doree A. Austin
as Mrs. Rodrigues
Michael Brockman
as Justice of the Peace
Troy Faucher
as Young Policeman
Bryant R. Garrett
as Thank You Patron
Stephen E. Hodgdon
as Strong Bagger #1
James K. Small
as Strong Bagger #2
Birdie Katz
as Frowzy Woman
Wilma Keem
as Housekeeper
Gail R. Pelotte
as DMV Clerkette
Scott Riccio
as DMV Patron
Dan Pleva
as Slick Man
Linda Saulter
as Secretary
Adam L. Sirois
as Secretary
Emily Wachtel
as Florida Bartender
View All

Critic Reviews for Empire Falls

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

Cajoled through this landscape by a Thornton Wilder Our Town voice-over, we are too conscious of a series of well-bred calculations and well-done set pieces, as if Maine had been Merchant Ivory'd.

January 18, 2018 | Full Review…

It's better on HBO where it can play over a couple of nights and you get a chance for the story. Because if you try to compress it into a hundred-minute movie, you'd lose all the rich textures at work here.

May 24, 2005

[Richard] Russo adapts his own novel for the HBO mini-series, which is essentially a four-hour film spread over two parts, and the format gives him the room to let the story and its characters live and breathe.

June 16, 2016 | Full Review…

It collapses.

September 11, 2005 | Rating: C-

Audience Reviews for Empire Falls


It is probably not that historical, but it is interesting to see this version of the current state of small-town Maine. The mill is empty and everyone has left. All there seems to be left is a diner, a pub and a church that needs painting. This movie is chalk full of name actors, and revolves around the life of Miles Roby (Ed Harris). The actors do a great job, and the story is laid out well (although the movie is four hours long). If you like plain stories of how people interact and deal with the life's trials and tribulations, you will like this movie.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer


By far, this is one of the best mini-series i've ever seen. It has a great cast, great story and a thematic quality to it. The idea to make the town more of a main character than any particular person is such an interesting way to go, it makes it feel like a Stephen King novel without any scary or supernatural elements to it. I feel like there was a complete story and non of the characters were not given a full treatment.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


This film casted the leads solely based on star power. As such, the only non-phoned-in performances were from supporting players - Penn, Burton, Parsons, Farina - and young unknowns, Pucci as John Voss, and especially Danielle Panabaker as Tick. Terrible accents all around and what was with the lame Our Town-y narration?

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Empire Falls Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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