Carried Away (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs up for the film and for Dennis Hopper.

Scoop's notes in white

So if I told you that the movie stars Dennis Hopper and he has sex with a 17 year old girl, you'd think it was some film about biker psychopaths. With Gary Oldman as his hard-ridin', mass-murderin' best pal, right?


You're forgetting that Hopper has two characters.

  • Type A is the cool-blooded psychotic seen in Blue Velvet, Waterword and Speed, and
  • Type B is the lost and lonely midwesterner seen in Hoosiers.

This film features type B Hopper, and it is some of the best work he has ever done. Hopper plays a depressed middle-aged man in a depressing small town. His mother is dying. He's been dating the same middle-aged woman for six years. He's a plodding, uninspired schoolteacher, and his family farm has failed. His heart is pure, but his life is safe and hardly worth living ...

 ... until a sexy nymph of a 17 year old and her retired Army dad move into town.

The vixen ends up in Hopper's class and, shortly thereafter, in his bed. Hopper never had any intention of making a move on her, but she initiated the sex. He said no, then changed his mind and experienced some forgotten passion.

The film is based on the novel "Farmer", by Jim Harrison, author of "Legends of the Fall." Although the movie was made in America with American actors, from an American novel about American characters, it is fully steeped in the European sensibilities. It's a real movie about real people doing things on a real schedule. There is also a minimum of action and plot contrivance. Although there is considerable sex and nudity, there is no sensationalism in the plot after the initial set-up. The principal characters all accept what has happened and try to figure out how to move on with their lives. The girl's dad doesn't want to kill anyone. The middle aged girlfriend tries to understand the situation, and ultimately benefits from her lover's dalliance. There is a minimum of judgment, either in the words the characters speak about one another, or in the attitude of the scriptwriter as measured by the consequences of people's actions. If anything, the film ultimately concludes that Hopper was right to let himself get "carried away", that it saved him from spending the rest of his life sitting around waiting to die.


DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen
  • The DVD includes a commentary by Amy Irving and her husband Bruno Barreto, who directed the film. Both feel it is a beautiful film, and their favorite of the films they have made.


  • Dennis Hopper's tallywacker was seen in two separate scenes, one with each of his female co-stars.
  • Amy Irving was seen stark naked from every angle in clear (actually harsh) light, first being examoined, then in the clinches with Hopper.
  • Amy Locane was completely naked, front and rear, but the rear view was brief, and the pubic shot was in very dim light. There was an additional chance to see her stark naked on horseback in daylight. Her breasts were on clear display for many, many minutes in the film.

Tuna's notes in yellow

Carried Away belongs in a small group of films that should have been very well known, but somehow went to video with a whimper after a token theatrical release. I was unable to discover why. Now that it is available on DVD, it may gain the audience it so deserves.

Joseph is a 47 year old teacher in a two room schoolhouse. He is uncredentialed, and the school will be closed after the current year. Having been crippled by a farming accident in his teen years, he still lives at home with his dying mother.  He feels, not without good reason, that life has somehow passed him by. He "fucks" Rosalee (Amy Irving), a widowed fellow schoolteacher two to three times per week, but their lovemaking is perfunctory and in the dark. He is not hot to marry her because everyone expects him to, and that union just represents more of the same.

Then 17 year old Catherine walks into his classroom. She is sexually precocious, and drop dead gorgeous, After she decides that Joseph is about as good as it gets in the hick town, she has no trouble at all seducing him. Joseph, for the first time in his life, allows himself to be carried away. It begins to get messy when Catherine concocts some fantasy that Joseph will marry her, and people start finding out about their relationship. It is at this point that the film could have gone way over the top, but didn't. In the last analysis, you might call it a romantic drama about the older couple, showing how Joseph's affair with the young girl revitalized his dying relationship with Rosalee, but there are many other subtexts going on as well.

Joseph was played by Dennis Hopper, in what I feel is the strongest performance of his career. Rosalee was played impeccably by Amy Irving, who also co-developed the project with her husband, the director Bruno Barreto. The Lolita part was nailed by Amy Locane, who does the sultry siren and insecure little girl perfectly. Hal Holbrook is the country doctor and everybody's shrink, and Gary Busey rounds out the cast as the retired Major, father of Catherine, who has moved to the country to try and get his wife dried out.

 Amy Irving and her husband Bruno Barreto, who directed the film, both feel it is a beautiful film. I agree.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: Three stars. Maltin 2.5/4, Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it a very respectable 6.7. Female IMDb voters score it 1.5 points higher than their male counterparts, and that male/female differential puts Carried Away in chick-flick territory. The high female scores occur across all age groups.
  • With their dollars ... virtually nil. Less than a million domestic gross, despite some good reviews.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a strong C+ (both reviewers). 

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