Set during the Great Depression in Waxachie, Texas, director Robert Benton's hometown, PLACES IN THE HEART stars Sally Field as Edna Spalding. After her husband is accidentally shot and killed by a drunk, Edna, the mother of two, has no means of support, and the $240 mortgage on her 40 acres of property is in danger of imminent foreclosure. Frightened at first, the spunky woman vows never to sell the farm and contemplates the possibility of planting a cotton crop to raise the money, the only drawback being she has never planted cotton in her life. But fortune appears in the person of Moze (Danny Glover), an African American migrant laborer who knows all there is to know about growing cotton. In order to make ends meet, Edna also decides to take in the blind Mr. Will (John Malkovich) as a boarder. As she takes over financial affairs previously handled by her husband, the proud woman must weather the amused contempt of the town's businessmen, who fully expect to see her fail. Slowly, the oddly-assorted members of Edna's new mnage begin to form ties, which become a necessity when the local Klan chapter pays Moze a visit. Field heads an exceptional cast with a powerful yet restrained performance (which gave way to a famously unrestrained exhibition on Oscar night, when she accepted the Academy Award for Best Actress by exclaiming to the audience, "You like me!"). Based on an actual incident in Benton's family, the film avoids sentimentality while invoking the religious spirit behind a bonding of the vulnerable who find strength in unity.
Academy Awards Best Actress 1984 Sally Field Oscar-winning actress, NORMA RAE, PLACES IN THE HEART
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay 1984 Robert Benton American director/screenwriter