YEAR: 1980

ROLE:  Calvin Carpenter

DIRECTOR:  Daniel Petrie

PREMIERE: September 26, 1980

Plot Summary

Edna McCauley's husband is killed in an auto crash. Edna survives, but not before enduring an "out of body" experience. Crippled in the accident, she heads to her hometown in Kansas to recuperate. There she discovers that she has the power to heal people. She accepts her gift, but resists the notion that she has been blessed with divine powers. On the other hand, her young lover, Cal Carpenter, believes that she is the embodiment of Jesus Christ.

Film Details

Ellen BURSTYN..............Edna McCauley
Jeffrey DEMUNN...............Joe McCauley
Roberts BLOSSOM...............John Harper
Eva LE GALLIENNE.......................Pearl
Lois SMITH....................................Kathy
Richard FARNSWORTH......Esco Brown
Sylvia WALDEN...........................Louise

Production Notes

Filmed in Texas with a $7 million budget. Starting in January 1979, the 13-week shoot ended around mid-April.

Publicity Stills

Janet Maslin, NY Times:
This is a movie that really seems to have brought out the best in everyone who worked on it. Chief among them is Miss Burstyn... The whole cast of Resurrection is outstanding. The playwright Sam  Shepard, who showed such promise in Days of Heaven, realizes that promise here. As Edna's hot-tempered lover, he brings a keen, nervous alertness to the role, and a presumptuousness that turns very appealing.

Alan Jones, Radio Times:
Superb scripting, a terrific cast and Daniel Petrie's heartfelt direction make this rural tale of faith and spirituality a rewarding experience.

Strong performances, particularly from Burstyn and Shepard.

People magazine:
Playwright Sam Shepard plays the son of a religious zealot with the same dark intensity he displayed in Days of Heaven. At the heart of the film is Burstyn - she is intelligent, compassionate and, when necessary, humorous.

Film critic Pauline Kael:
Lewis John Carlino was commissioned to write the script for Burstyn, and he shaped it to her; she bestrides the movie, glowing with love and wholesome humor. The director, Daniel Petrie, does some very polished, fluid work, but you're always aware of the planning and calculation. Mysticism doesn't come easy to him. Carlino's script, which attempts to combine holistic healing and feminism, is an amazing fusion of old corn and modern cant. With Sam Shepard, who brings the film some sexy tension as a hell-raising kid whom Burstyn heals after he has been stabbed in a drunken fight.

Leonard Maltin:
It’s a moving and unusual story about a woman who has a near-death experience, then discovers that she has unexplainable healing powers. I’ve always loved this film, and as I learned when I interviewed Burstyn not long ago, she is also quite fond of it.

Matt Mazur, Pop Matters:
Though it might seem that sexuality would be out of place in a film about deep spirituality, death, and the great beyond, Burstyn has talked about how it was of the utmost importance that both the spiritual side and the sexual side of her character be showcased, she wanted those facets of the character to be intertwined. She purposely chose young playwright Sam Shepard to play Cal, for many reasons women get cast in the traditional “wife” or “girlfriend” roles – for their good looks – though Shepard’s character is far more nuanced and interesting than just a mere supporting love interest, as he will be a key part of Edna’s undoing.

Film critic Emmanuel Levy:
Like the 1979 Norma Rae, Resurrection stresses that Edna is an ordinary, uneducated woman who becomes extraordinary through her magical powers. The incoherent narrative tries to fuse new, feminist ideas with older and sentimental conventions about the healing power of Love. Edna’s qualities of inner-strength and self-reliance are associated with values of small-town and country folks.

Spirituality and Practice:
The care and concern of these creative individuals is evident in every frame of the movie. They have done extensive research on psychic healing and the controversies which surround it. Thanks to a stirring and remarkable performance by Ellen Burstyn, Resurrection lingers in the mind and heart long after the closing credits.

, an unusual supernatural drama about a faith healer, gives Ellen Burstyn a shot at a tour-de-force performance, but never comes into strong enough focus dramatically or philosophically.