Alan Arkin plays the crotchetiest, most ornery, entirely loveable Flagg Purdy, a rural handyman, living in rural Oregon, in rural farmhouse almost lost in rural America. He and his wife, Ada (Barbara Dana) scratch out a living on handywork and selling eggs to Purdy’s best “friend” and worst foe, Gus Falk (gorgeously played by the understated Austin Pendleton).
For someone like me, who lives in the world of 50 plus, the themes uncovered touch on all the issues that are facing this demographic regardless of their economic station. I don’t want to give away the story, but when something happens in the film that causes Purdy to lose his reason for going on, the viewer connects deeply with their own circumstance. His children are summoned from across the state to say their “goodbyes” to their very undead, very funny father.
Boomers across America are still the sandwich generation — making it on their own, raising children and then having to care for their parents. Older post-war babies are trying to make their peace with their own mortality. Old values are clashing with new desires. Blood is…or sometimes isn’t thicker than water.
This dramatic comedy touches all bases. And while a bit slow in the middle of the film (some judicious cutting would pick that up nicely), the overall message of the film is wonderful. As American as apple pie, the principled Arkin stubbornly sticks to his guns and follows a legal battle that will have you holding your sides.
“Raising Flagg” is a Cinema Libre Studio release, produced by Rubicon Film Productions, Ltd. and Orgeon Creative, LLC Production. “Raising Flagg” is the first major motion picture in years to be both financed and filmed entirely in Oregon.