Victor Nunez has fashioned arguably the best work of his distinguished career. Set in a Florida backwater, Ulee's Gold mines the rich dramatic terrain of Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers. Its virtues include character portrayal, respect for its audience's intelligence, and a plausible plot that augments rather than overwhelms its delicate cadences: everything that full-throttle Hollywood fare bypasses.
Ulee, a Vietnam vet turned beekeeper, endures the disintegration of his family. Son Jimmy lands in jail, daughter-in-law Helen is kidnapped by Jimmy's partners in crime, who think Jimmy has hidden the proceeds from a robbery from them. Ulee's refuge from all this mayhem is the production of high-grade honey, while looking after his two granddaughters. Things take a nasty turn when Ulee is asked to go to Orlando to collect the wayward Helen, is confronted by Jimmy's cohorts who then demand a $100,000 ransom for Helen.