Stop the Pounding Heart

September 19th, 2014


Stop the Pounding Heart

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Sara, a girl being home-schooled on a goat farm alongside her 11 siblings, finds her devout values challenged after she meets Colby, an amateur bull rider.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 7.2/10 (315 voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Roberto Minervini

Stars: Sara Carlson, Colby Trichell, Tim Carlson

Sara is a young girl raised in a family of goat farmers. Her parents homeschool their twelve children, rigorously following the precepts of the Bible. Like her sisters, Sara is taught to be a devout woman, subservient to men while keeping her emotional and physical purity intact until marriage. When Sara meets Colby, a young amateur bull rider, she is thrown into crisis, questioning the only way of life she has ever known. In a stunning portrayal of contemporary America and the insular communities that dot its landscape, Stop the Pounding Heart is an exploration of adolescence, family and social values, gender roles, and religion in the rural American South.

Writers: Roberto Minervini, Roberto Minervini

Sara Carlson - Sara
Colby Trichell - Colby
Tim Carlson - Tim
LeeAnne Carlson - LeeAnn
Katarina Carlson - Katarina
Christin Carlson - Christin
Grace Carlson - Grace
Linnea Carlson - Linnea
Emma Carlson - Emma
Timothy Carlson - Timothy
Liberty Carlson - Liberty
Noah Carlson - Noah
Judah Carlson - Judah
Seth Carlson - Seth
Dixie Carlson - Dixie


Official Website: Official Facebook

Country: Italy, Belgium, USA

Language: English

Release Date: 5 December 2013

Filming Locations: Waller, Texas, USA

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 9/10

"Stop the Pounding Heart" is a dramatic title for such a quiet, gentle, observant film. The filmmakers offer no real plot to speak of, but instead simply follow the daily life of Sara, a 14-year old girl raised on farm in Texas by a devotedly Christian family. With absolute naturalism, the film observes the details of her life: Sara going about her chores, attending family prayer time and Bible studies, helping to home school the many siblings, watching an actual home birth, practicing shooting with her father. We hear her parent's words as they teach the Bible and talk with deep sincerity of marriage, a woman's "Biblical" role as subservient to the husband, and abstinence before marriage. We see the family visiting the local rodeo and the young bull rider that catches Sara's eye. We slowly, very slowly, observe discontent rising up in Sara's heart.

Having been personally raised in a Christian family, and near communities of home schoolers, I have never witnessed such an authentic portrayal of these types of beliefs and this very specific type of American faith. The insider language and internal logic of this community feel absolutely genuine at every moment. The acting is so natural that I'm convinced the players were cast from within that type of community. The people on the farm are absolutely kind, but also insular and self-reinforcing. The film does not judge, but simply observes and ponders. We can understand the pull of such a loving place with so many answers and so many people who all believe the same way. We can also understand the suffocation.

While I found the details of the film fascinating to watch, the film offers little else but those details. It watches, and we watch, and hopefully we ponder with it, but those seeking narrative momentum will be left unsatisfied. Those seeking reflection and observation will come away full.


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