I am a big proponent of the fact that sometimes (in fact, more often than not) you have to just take a movie for what it is and allow yourself to be entertained. Sometimes, even though a movie might want to say something deeper or mean something more, it ends up serving only that simple purpose. That is the case with The Yellow Handkerchief, another interesting, yet indescribable film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

It tells the story of Martine (Kristen Stewart), a 15 year old girl in Lousiana who befriends Brett (William Hurt), a recently released convict and an emotionally unbalanced and pubescent young man named Gordy (Freddie Redmayne). Together, they travel through the countryside of Louisiana down to a post-Katrina New Orleans. The road trip, as we have seen so many times, serves as a metaphor for the life journey’s of our three main characters.

As the film moves along, quite slowly I might add, we learn more and more about why Brett was in prison, and that it had something to do with his wife May (Maria Bello). The script, penned by Erin Dignam, is a well articulated journey through the lives of four quintessential losers and how their stories evolve together to become a tale of dealing with failure, disappointment and social awkwardness.

While the script was great, the translation to film is a bit dry for my taste. Sure, it kept my attention, as I too wanted to know why Brett was in prison for so long and I too wanted to know why all three of these people were running away from their lives, it just took too long to develop. Had it not been for some illuminating performances from a wonderful cast, I would not have enjoyed this film.

But the performances were illuminating and the film turned out to be enjoyable, despite itself. Kristen Stewart gives one of the better performances that we’ve seen from her. William Hurt also delivers a solid performance, as he always does. Freddie Redmayne though, is certainly the standout of the film. His character goes from spastic to quirky and back again, but never ceases to be endearing as well. In the end, he saves this film from being a real bore.

And that is not to say that the film is not at least visually interesting. In fact, it is at times a very sad portrait of the disaster-torn region of southern Louisiana. Give cinematographer Chris Menges credit for that. Like so many films, while the whole of it did not blow me away, there were plenty of little moments and delightful performances to make it an enjoyable experience. As well, it was a film that accomplished what it was going for. That is, if its goal was to leave no dry eyes in the house as the credits rolled.

Grade: B


ARTICLE TAGS
Like this article? Join thousands of your fellow movie lovers who subscribe to The Weekly Edition from Film School Rejects. Our best articles, every week, right in your inbox!
  %
%  
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3