Daniel Algrant

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Daniel Algrant’s Greetings from Tim Buckley is supposed to be Penn Badgley’s revelatory moment as an actor. Playing singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, Badgley sings live on set and sounds eerily similar to Buckley as he goes into his upper register and harmonizes in abstract ways. Unfortunately, Badgley’s performance ultimately feels empty, as does the film as a whole. Despite being focused on real, complicated people with tragic lives (both at the height of their fame, Jeff’s father Tim died at 28 from an accidental overdose and Jeff drowned at 30), the film never allows the two Buckleys to come across as fully realized characters. It’s 1991 and Jeff Buckley is living in California, a struggling musician. Out of the blue, he gets a call asking him to come to Brooklyn to perform in a tribute concert for his father, who he only met twice in his lifetime. Jeff is bitter about the whole situation – celebrating the man who abandoned him – but he agrees to play nonetheless. While he is there, he is guided musically by his two of his father’s former bandmates, played by William Sadler and Frank Wood. He also forms an immediate connection with the venue’s intern, Allie (Imogen Poots, playing a fictionalized character) and she helps him come to terms with being his father’s son. Jeff’s story of prepping for the tribute concert is intercut with Tim’s (Ben Rosenfield) trip from California to New York at the start of his career in the 1960s.

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Greetings From Tim Buckley Trailer

The story behind now-legendary singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley’s first introduction to the music world is the sort of dramatic, one in a million tale that’s so simultaneously relatable and unbelievable, it seems like somebody should make it into a movie. So somebody made it into a movie. Or, more specifically, Daniel Algrant made it into a movie starring Penn Badgley as Jeff and Ben Rosenfield as his equally notable singer/song writer father, Tim. The story starts with Jeff as an unknown artist with a famous father, a father that he’s estranged from and never properly knew. His world changes, however, when he’s asked to travel from west coast to east in order to perform at a tribute concert for the man. Suddenly the younger Buckley is put in the position of not only having a big opportunity to show off his talents to the world, but also being forced to wrestle with all of his feelings about a man that he never knew and mostly resents. Of course, we all know that the situation ends with Jeff performing at the show and a new star being born, but it’s the drama of the journey to that point that makes this a story interesting enough to make into a movie.

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There’s new movement over on Jake Scott’s upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic, which may or may not have been titled Mystery White Boy. We’ve already reported that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’s Reeve Carney is set to star as the indie rock legend, and now there’s word that Patricia Arquette has been signed to play Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert. The role is said to be a small one, but it sounds important nonetheless. Arquette will be seen both in flashbacks to when Buckley was a child and in later years when he was an adult. And apparently she plays an important role in convincing Buckley to appear during a 1991 tribute concert to his father, “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” which was considered to be Jeff’s first public performance and kind of the launching point for what became a very notable career.

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