The Homesman ★★★★


10.00-11.55pm BBC2

Nominated for six awards by the Women Film Critics Circle, including best movie about women, The Homesman might confidently be pitched as a feminist western, albeit written and produced by chaps. The estimable Tommy Lee Jones directs his second feature in rough, tough fashion and stars as a weatherworn, whiskery rustler in 1850s Nebraska saved from hanging by Hilary Swank’s spinster in exchange for his help transporting a trio of mentally unstable women to a church in Iowa (“Three crazy women for five weeks is a lot more than I bargained for,” he drawls). Their odd-couple picaresque is punctuated by bandits, natives, a mercenary hotelier (James Spader) and eventually the charitable reverend’s wife (Meryl Streep). Beautifully shot and staged by Jones and Mexican cameraman Rodrigo Prieto (Silence), with an eerie score by Marco Beltrami, The Homesman is a cross-gender western treat.

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