Once Upon a River Image

Once Upon a River

By Alan Ng | August 28, 2020

METHOD FEST 2020 REVIEW! After shooting the older, family man, who took her virginity, Margo Crane is on the run heading down the Stark River to find herself in the coming of age movie, Once Upon a River. Written and directed by Haroula Rose, Once Upon a River is based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell about a young Native American woman in search of her estranged mother.

Our story takes place in the 1978 rural hills of Michigan. Young Margo (Kenadi DelaCerna) shows herself to be quite adept at sharpshooting with a rifle. Her skill draws the attention of the Murray family patriarch, Cal (Coburn Goss). Cal invites Margo to go hunting with him and his sons Billy (Sam Straley) and Junior (Arie Thompson).

“…Margo is alone, and her only option is to find her estranged mother…”

Later that evening Margo tells Cal she’ll go hunting with them. Cal then proceeds to take Margo to the barn, and the two have sex. The pair is caught in the act, and Cal’s wife (Josephine Decker) goes nuts—as she should. Cal blames Margo for tempting him, and Margo’s father, Bernard (Tatanka Means) beats down Cal and his sons.

The next day tensions are high, and Margo shoots Cal for revenge for what he’s done. Thinking it was Margo’s father who shot Cal, Billy shoots and kills him. Now Margo is alone, and her only option is to find her estranged mother, Luann (Lindsay Pulsipher), who lives a ways down the Stark River.

Once Upon a River (2019)

Directed and Written: Haroula Rose

Starring: Kenadi DelaCerna, John Ashton, Tatanka Means, Ajuawak Kapashesit, Lindsay Pulsipher, Sam Straley, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Once Upon a River Image

"…it would be easy for Margo to become a victim of her misfortune..."

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  1. ONCE UPON A RIVER - The David Lean Cinema says:

    […] “Kenadi Delkacerna absolutely shines in not only her first feature film but her first leading role as well” – Alan Ng, Film Threat […]

  2. Wivine Mathys says:

    Je dévore ce livre pour la seconde fois! J’aimerais beaucoup voir l’interprétation cinématographique de Halou Rose, avec cette jeune actrice qui a l’air de bien interpréter Margo Crane! Mais je ne le trouve malheureusement pas! Quelqu’un pourrait m’aider et me dire où je pourrais le regarder en streaming sur un site internet?

    Merci d’avance!


  3. Sherry Kent says:

    Showing at College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL on Friday 2/21/20 7:00 pm.

  4. Lauralee says:

    Based on the novel written by Bonnie Jo Campbell.

    • Timothy J Gallagher says:

      Sayin’! It sounds as though Haroula Rose craves the entire treasure chest, but I have faith the advertising agency did did not consider mentioning the novelist a key element. Yet, each element of the movie is used to unlock the vision which was created in the mind of Haroula Rose when she read Bonnie Jo Campbell’s novel. BJC charged fearlessly into the world when she was around the same age as Margo, the book’s protagonist, hitch-hiking across the continent, travelling with the B&B circus, and leading bicycle tours in Transylvania. She excelled in academia, first as a mathematician before settling on Creative Writing. With real world experience, excellence in academics, earlier book success and a willingness to spend as much time as it takes to perfect a story, Bonnie Jo Campbell is the essential reason why Rose got to write her screenplay and do the movie and the ad agency was awarded a contract to do the artwork. Seems like she is worth mentioning.

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