The Jingle Dress
--Written by William Eigen
John Red Elk pulls up stakes and takes his family off the reservation and down to the big city to find out how his long lost Uncle Norton died. Through the fresh eyes of his eight year old daughter Rose, we follow the family as they discover a new, urban culture and gain insight into their own ancient, indigenous society.
--Written by Anonymous
Packed House: Actress Stacey Thunder on 'The Jingle Dress' Sneak Preview Screening
What's The Jingle Dress about?
It's a contemporary story of a Native American family who move from their rural home on the reservation in northern Minnesota to the faster paced urban environment of Minneapolis. I play Elsie, the mother of the Red Elk family. She is the backbone of the family and loves them dearly. She is very strong, yet sensitive and looks to her husband John (Chaske Spencer) and sister Janet (Kimberly Guerrero), for support. She worries about her family as they experience their new life in Minneapolis.
Comment: My friend and I agreed about The Jingle Dress. Greg Winter's cinematography was gorgeous--well beyond what you see in most low-budget movies. The acting led by Chaske Spencer and Stacey Thunder was fine. But the rest of the movie--the writing, directing, and editing--were poor. There was no tension and not much of a plot. Basically nothing happens.
You can see this in the trailer above, which has the movie's best movies. It tries to hint at a deeper mystery surrounding the uncle's death, but there's no there there. The movie doesn't go any deeper into his death or the family's dislocation than what's in the trailer.
Since I'm a story guy, I don't give The Jingle Dress much credit for looking nice or showing a modern Native family without stereotypes. I expect as much in any serious Native movie. I expect more and this film doesn't deliver. Rob's rating: 5.0 of 10.
Below: "Happy family: Chaske Spencer, S'Nya Sanchez-Hohenstein, Mauricimo Sanchez-Hohenstein, and Stacey Thunder as the Red Elk family in The Jingle Dress."