Netflix Files: Big Eden

You guys. YOU GUYS. Big Eden is on Netflix. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. Big Eden is one of the cutest, sweetest, and in some ways, most revolutionary little romcoms ever. And now we can watch it with ease on Netflix, instead of having to buy a DVD on Amazon or pray that some tiny independent video store somewhere was still holding on in our instant streaming era and had a copy.

So what movie could possibly deserve this reaction, you wonder? Well, ruminate on this:

Heart eyes...

Heart eyes…

-Successful NYC artist Henry has to return to his rural hometown of Big Eden, Montana, to take care of his grandfather after a stroke.

-There Henry encounters his unrequited high school crush, Dean, who has returned to Big Eden with his kids to get a fresh start after his divorce.

-There Henry also runs into Pike, another high school classmate who currently runs the general store.

-Pike is painfully, adorably, shy and has also been nursing his own unrequited crush on Henry all these years.

-This town full of old white weekly churchgoing busybodies falls all over itself to help Pike hook up with Henry.

...Heart eyes everywhere

…Heart eyes everywhere

This last point is the biggest exclamation point in a movie full of them. Seriously, Big Eden is populated by a bunch of nosy blue-haired old ladies and cowboy hat-wearing, porch-sitting old men, and they spend the entire movie conspiring to help Pike, the only person in town who’s not white (he’s Native American! This is amazing! There’s not a bad stereotype or joke in sight!) get together with Henry.

The result is seeing little old ladies do things like involving Pike in an overly complicated meal train to give him an excuse to go to Henry’s house every night, or seeing a group of old retired men learning how to carve roses out of carrots and radishes to give the meals Pike makes for Henry and his grandfather a romantic flair.

The townsfolk of Big Eden and their shenanigans to help Pike and Henry get together.

The townsfolk of Big Eden and their shenanigans to help Pike and Henry get together.

All that isn’t to say that Big Eden completely skirts any struggles Henry might have with his sexuality. He’s never officially come out to his grandfather, and they have a scene simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming confronting the issue. Trickier, however, is Henry’s relationship with Dean. Dean knows Henry is attracted to him, and Dean knows he loves Henry. He attempts to reciprocate on all the levels Henry needs, and the latter is upset and uninterested in experimentation. But yet again Big Eden explores this with heart – it’s a sucky situation that can’t be resolved to the full satisfaction of either character, and they both have some learning and growth to do as a result of it.

But of course it all ends well. The town of Big Eden is truly a paradise, a completely ideal small community without a whiff of bigotry. The movie isn’t perfect; many of the lines are clunky, the acting isn’t the best, and the soundtrack is heavy on the twang, but none of that will matter because you’ll spend the whole movie with stars in your eyes and your hands clasped together in joy.

Be it through providence or the prescience of the Netflix Powers that Be, Big Eden’s online streaming debut is just what we need right now. For all its technical flaws, it heals the soul.