It's been a while since we've received a memorable western. It's been a very long time since one was as unforgettable as "Unforgiven" or "True Grit." And one that is at once an 1850s feminist epic, a morbidly amusing prairie farce and a revisionist action-adventure yarn is pretty much unheard of.
That's exactly what Tommy Lee Jones gives us in "The Homesman," the spiky and relevant pioneer fable he directed and co-wrote. He also co-stars with Hilary Swank and a cast including John Lithgow, Meryl Streep, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson and William Fichtner, which is how you define "all-star."