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Paradise [VHS]
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Customer Reviews:

  • Thora Birch: Best Performance by a Child actress ever..gonna LOVE her!!!
    Yes, I'm a fan of Thora Birch even I didn't see this movie before. Starring in Now and Then and Monkey Trouble that's enough for me to love her. It was my curiosity to watch all of her early works that's why I was able to watch Paradise (I avail it in Amazon) and according to critics her performance here is scene stealing...YES..That is true..All of her moments here are all worth watching..She's so lively and very natural..She's the one you would like to watch here..very innocent yet so smart..I recommend everyone to check this out..and surely you'll never forget this little girl that will warm your heart......more info
  • YOUNG WILLARD HELPS MEND LILY AND BEN'S BROKEN HEARTS!
    This is a very good movie! It is about a grieving, married couple, who still love each other, but they have drifted apart, because of their grief, and heartbreaking loss of their only child!

    Don Johnson (Ben) and Melanie Griffith (Lily) did a outstanding job in this movie! Elijah Wood (Willard), and Thora Birch( who plays Willard's, very outspoken new friend) are awesome actors, to be so young, and I loved the awesome chemisty between Ben, and Lily!

    A very pregnant, friend of Lily's was having marriage problems, and she wanted Lily and Ben to look after her 10 year son (Willard) for the summer, so that she could make some major decisions, because her husband just left her, for another woman! So, Lily agreed to help her, and Willard came to stay with Ben and Lily for the summer! And Willard also made a very special new friend, who had a very colorful, outgoing mother! This summer, became of summer of changes for everyone!

    Willard helped bring Ben and Lily back to life, because they so badly missed their child, and they in return ,helped Willard as well, with the problems he was also facing in his young life, because he was wanting so badly to have his family, to be a real family!

    I loved the breathtaking, beautiful place where this movie was made! And I loved Ben and Lily's home out in the country, and I loved seeing the small town, and the pretty, country scenes in the summertime, and I loved the beautiful, shady trees, and the pretty ole-timey church! I liked this movie very much!...more info
  • Great acting and nice scenery, but....
    Having recently become a Don Johnson fan after seeing his marvelous performances in the "Miami Vice" tv series, I was very much interested in seeing him in other roles besides the never-to-be-forgotten 'Sonny' Crockett. Unfortunately, "Paradise" was a disappointment after my excitement to see Johnson and his wife at the time, Melanie Griffith, star together in what was supposed to be a 'family' movie.

    Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith play Lily and Ben Reed, a couple torn apart after a terrible tragedy. Their love and affection for each other has died out and they live day by day hardly speaking to each other, hardly acknowledging the other's existence. That is, until a good friend's son, Willard Young (Elijah Wood), arrives in town as their summer guest. Will the Reeds finally rekindle their lost love for each other, and will young Willard, with the help of a country girl, Billie Pike (Thora Birch), learn to not be afraid?

    The acting was well done and I have no qualms with any of the actors. Johnson and Griffith, by then seasoned veterans of the trade, play their roles with lots of heart and it's easy to feel for each of their characters as they strive to grasp some sort balance in their tumultuous lives. As for the younger stars, Elijah Wood and Thora Birch are also quite good for their ages. There are some awkward moments where though they are trying very hard to capture some dramatic moments, their inexperienced youth comes in the way at times. On the overall, it might be said that Birch may have been the better actress (both youths receiving 'Young Artist Award Nominations', though Birch is the only one who takes home the award for 'Best Young Actress').

    I think my main problem with "Paradise" is with how the plot is presented. The plot is fairly good except that it is stretched too thin so that you really can't put your finger on what the message is. And when a good plot is stretched thin, too often do directors put 'unnecessary' subplots throughout the movie. But instead of doing it to make the movie flow better, the subplots in "Paradise" seem to burden the film with tediousness.

    Not only are some of scenes out of place, they are sometimes 'cringe-worthy'. To give an example, the director wished to show a sense of every day life of the people in town. Often at times, Willard and Billie are left to their own devices to find their own amusement. And their 'amusement' consists of stealing a boat, doing dangerous stunts, and being 'peeping Toms', spying on Billie's sister and her boyfriend. Their spying on Billie's sister and her boyfriend at an 'intimate' moment was the most disturbing and disgusting. I found it totally unnecessary and made me wonder what kind of a director could ask a young actor and actress to participate in that kind of scene?

    As mentioned in the above, this is NOT a family movie contrary to what some reviewers have mentioned. Besides some disturbing scenes with Billie's sister, there is also some profanity. And on the whole, the story deals with mature themes.

    If taken in the right direction, "Paradise" may have been a good movie. Parents would have enjoyed watching the Reeds fix their broken relationship while kids might have been able to relate to Willard's struggles with the different kinds of fears he must face. But unfortunately, "Paradise" doesn't put too much focus on fantastic Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith while Willard's part in the movie wasn't quite uplifting or interesting. The story also ends somewhat disappointingly. There is just a hint of the 'hope' of what's to come for the characters and then immediately cuts to the closing credits. In my opinion, I would rather have seen how that summer changed their lives for the better and witnessed that change.

    All-in-all, "Paradise" was never a big hit for a reason so if you're looking for a good drama to watch with the family, I recommend these films instead:
    "Mr. Holland"s Opus" - Starring Richard Dreyfuss, this is a great film about the life a music teacher and how he touched the lives of many.
    "October Sky" -An extremely uplifting movie about how a group of boys strived to fulfill their dreams. (Some strong language so maybe to be watched with older kids.)...more info
  • In Paradise, indeed...
    A simple, old-time movie about the simple life in a small town does not change the fact that grief and estrangement are universal and cannot be ignored as if they will tippy-toe away. Secrets gnaw from the inside out.
    Ben and Lily (Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) lost a young son two years earlier, so when Willard (Elijah Wood) arrives, he steps right into this scenario of estrangement and unresolved grief.

    Ten-year-old Willard has come to visit because his pregnant mother wrestles with her own potential loss--Willard's father has run off with another woman--and she needs time to figure out what to do. Willard's father becomes a pivotal point later in the story. Willard is sent to Lily because she was his mother's best friend in their girlhood days.

    A bright boy, Willard senses that things are not well in this house. He makes friends with Billie, the wild girl next-door, nine-years-old and daughter of the town floozie, making this viewer ask, as always, why children must also suffer the problems of their parents.

    Yes, Paradise, is an apt name for a perfect setting--fishing, swimming, warm summer days, tree rafts, boating. But, of course, it is not paradise. What then is this story about, if not an idyllic setting? It is about the daily-ness of life and how each little act leads to the next for good or bad, in the case of unresolved grief, out of avoidance, out of ignorance, out of now a set routine. That's where Willard's role is apparent. His presence presents a new paradigm, breaking the unhappy flow of energy. Not that he does this intentionally--he doesn't. He simply is a new factor to alter their energy, refocusing it back into this couple, who are so hopelessly lost in their grief.

    "Paradise" is a quiet drama, a family drama, and one that ends well. ...more info
  • Thora Birch
    If you have never been introduced to Thora Birch-this is the one to see. I don't know if this was her first movie or not but she is really young in this film. If there were ever a star born "this is it". She is just unbelievable. Griffin and Johnson are really great too. This movie is actually worth watching for the scene location alone....more info
  • This movie is a "Keeper"
    This is a "Collector" movie to buy and watch again and again when the mood strikes you. It is about "Life" which is never pretty all the time. It is about coming of age, it is about love (good and bad love). It is a movie that causes you to think about your own life and your own relationships. And I agree with the gentleman from Michigan in the sense that this is a small town person movie. I grew up in powdunk Texas and really relate to the dirt road mentality and the peacefulness of the lake and woods. It has been said that when you are young you want to leave home and as you get older you want to return there. I agree wholeheartedly. What we seek is the peacefulness of home and the support of family there. This movie also deals with "Loss" very well and how different people react to loss and how you never know how you will react to loss and how that will change your life. If you dont agree with my rating I suggest you watch the movie again with a new perspective and I think it will speak to you differently. Happy Day....more info
  • This movie has it all
    Great acting, story, and scenery. This has to be one of the most overlooked movies in history. I owned it originally on Laserdisc and was hoping for an eventual release on DVD. I imagine the popularity of Elijah Wood has a lot to do with this.

    As previously stated, the cinematography in this movie is outstanding. The acting by both, and very young, Thora Birch and Elija Wood is incredible. Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith also give high caliber performances and the chemistry between them is superb. I can't say enough about the acting as the supporting cast is also very good. Why there were no academy award nominations for this movie is a mystery to me. It most likely has to do with the lack of respect for Don Johnson's acting ability and the fact that he is not on the A list.

    The story is also well written and quickly drags you in.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and on my 10 best list.
    ...more info