Unfortunately, with a title like The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, you'll never be able to recommend this to a friend because you probably won't be able to remember it's name. Forget the title, and you have an absolutely perfect movie. The kind of movie that is so well paced and directed that it just had to have been adapted from a book (And sure enough, it is). The story presented here is incredible, but completely true at the same time. It's very uplifting, and gives you more hope that you can actually win contests once and a while... though it probably meant a lot more back then.
I think the best part of the film had to have been Julianne Moore (as the greatest mom ever). Based on a real mother of many children, the person her character is based on had to go through a lot in her life, and her story is unlike anything I've ever seen depicted onscreen. Julianne is simply outstanding in Defiance, and reassures me that she is still one of the best actresses onscreen today. Thank goodness she brought this character to screen; hopefully you'll take the time to catch her in this role.