Sunday, January 29, 2006

Come Early Morning

2006 Sundance Film Festival
★ ★ ★
Come Early Morning opens with Lucy (Ashley Judd) waking up in the morning at a hotel in bed with a guy whose name she does not know. We soon learn this is normal for her. Lucy lives in a small town in the south, does a fine job helping oversee construction projects, drives an old pick-up truck, shares a small house with a roommate (Laura Prepon, from That 70’s Show), dutifully takes care of her aging relatives, is estranged from her father, regularly visits the one bar in town, drinks a lot and gets sloppy drunk and sleeps with strangers.

The plot is predictable—Lucy meets a guy and he hopes to help her out of this cycle and that proves to be rough on both of them and the relationship almost falls apart but then just before the credits roll they reconcile and I think everyone lives happily ever after.

Written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams (the memorable Alyssa from Chasing Amy), Come Early Morning is a reflection of her Southern Baptist upbringing and was shot in locations that were personal to her. Ashley Judd is excellent in the film and the supporting cast includes such veteran talents as Tim Blake Nelson, Stacy Keach and Diane Ladd, not to mention another southern boy, Ray McKinnon, who plays a local Holy Roller preacher.

While not a great film, it was a warm, entertaining and well-produced movie that told a genuine story about a complex character caught in an ugly rut. It also has a wonderful soundtrack, although it’s not clear how much of that will survive when they have to pay for the rights for national release.

Tidbits from the Sundance Q&A: Joey Lauren Adams was frank and refreshing. She said she did the movie because she wasn’t getting any good acting opportunities and realized she needed to do something in her life besides hang out. The bar that’s featured in the movie is the same one she goes to when she visits her home town, and one of the houses featured is owned by her grandparents, I think.


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