A Map of the World (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Map of the World (1999)



Critic Consensus: Disjointed storytelling overshadows noteworthy performances.

A Map of the World Photos

Movie Info

In this contemporary drama, Sigourney Weaver plays a woman out of her element and at the end of her rope. Alice Goodwin is a wife and mother who finds that the pressures of her life are starting to become more than she can bear. Alice works part-time as a school nurse while her husband Howard (David Strathairn) runs the family farm; they both look after their two daughters. Alice, who wasn't raised in farm country, still feels like an outsider, and she embraces a cynical, sarcastic humor as a defense mechanism. Alice's only real friends in town are Dan and Theresa Collins (Ron Lea and Julianne Moore), who live nearby and often babysit Alice's kids; Alice does the same for the Collins children as well. One day, while watching Theresa's two-year-old daughter Lizzie, Alice has to step away for a few minutes, and she returns to discover Lizzie has fallen into a pond near the house; the child falls into a coma and dies several days later. Lizzie's death puts a permanent wedge between Alice and Theresa, and most people in the community believe Alice is to blame for the girl's death. Any support she might have had is driven away when Robbie (Marc Donato), a boy who lives nearby, claims Alice molested him. Alice is sent to jail while awaiting trial, and Howard (who can't afford her $100,000 bail) must watch over their daughters and keep house by himself as he tries to keep the farm afloat. As Alice falls into a deep depression behind bars, Howard and Theresa begin edging into a romance. Based on the best-selling novel by Jane Hamilton, A Map of the World was adapted for the screen by Peter Hedges and Polly Platt and director Scott Elliott.

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Sigourney Weaver
as Alice Goodwin
David Strathairn
as Howard Goodwin
Julianne Moore
as Theresa Collins
Chloë Sevigny
as Carole Mackessy
Sara Rue
as Debbie
Arliss Howard
as Paul Reverdy
Ron Lea
as Dan Collins
Dara Perlmutter
as Emma Goodwin
Kayla Perlmutter
as Claire Goodwin
Marc Donato
as Robbie Mackessy
Lisa Emery
as Susan Durkin
John Bourgeois
as Judge Patterson
Nancy McAlear
as Det. Grogan
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Critic Reviews for A Map of the World

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18)

Sigourney Weaver dominates with her powerful performance but the film, a feature debut from theater director Scott Elliott, is so poorly conceived and staged that much of the emotional impact gets lost

December 26, 2006 | Rating: C+
Top Critic

Acting and character development are uneven.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The film overflows with the studied ordinariness that prevails in Mom movies, where glamorous Hollywood stars muck about in pajamas and a little epiphany may be signaled by a broken cereal bowl on the kitchen floor.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/5

Scott Elliott's palsied directorial debut, from a mine shaft-ridden script, is a sick joke.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Too many situations are set up or suggested without much follow-through.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4
Top Critic

Most of the film feels borrowed from other movies.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Map of the World


Wow. This movie is crazy dark.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

Great movie!

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

A Map of the World Quotes

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