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Awesome: 4.76%
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3 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Come Early Morning
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by Collin Souter

"A nice, personal piece and just what you'd expect at a Festival"
4 stars

(SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL) Weíve met characters like Lucy before and weíve seen movies like Come Early Morning before, but doesnít automatically make Joey Lauren Adamsí directorial debut less than a good movie. At worst, itís somewhat pedestrian. At best, itís a well-acted, low-key drama about a woman at a crossroads in her life as she questions her own erratic behavior and how it relates to those around her, particularly her family. Cue the come-and-go love interest, the divorced parents and the ride off into the sunset.

But again, itís not that bad. Judd plays Lucy, a contractor in the rural south who has a habit of hanging out in bars, getting pathetically drunk and going to bed with losers. She wakes up the next morning with only a shred of pride, but uses it to try and redeem herself by insisting on paying for the hotel room. We then meet her parents who have been divorced due to an indiscretion by her soft-spoken, church-going father (Scott Wilson). Her mother, Nana (Diane Ladd), has since married a confrontational old crank who is also a source of abuse.

Lucy receives the smartest advice from her friend Kim (Laura Prepon), who constantly questions why Lucy doesnít bother ever trying to get to know the men she sleeps with. Along comes another handsome man in a bar, Cal (Jeffrey Donovan), who actually objects when he wakes up the next morning and finds that Lucy is already dressed and ready for her escape. Thus begins the first potentially intimate relationship in Lucyís life. He introduces her to his world of cooking frogís legs and painting model cars while actually taking the time to study and admire her body before having sex with her.

This doesnít completely stop her from getting into the occasional fight in a bar or repeating her old habits. Yet, so determined is she to break free from this pattern, she attends church with her father, but becomes increasingly frustrated with the scriptures donít help her out in ways she hoped they would. Such as life. Meanwhile, Tim Blake Nelson shows up for two scenes as her Uncle Tim.

Joey Lauren Adams has an assured hand behind the camera, but sheís more in tune with her actors than with attempting anything truly cinematic. She wisely employed the gifted cinematographer Tim Orr to aid in lending the locale some authenticity (he also shot All The Real Girls). She doesnít try too hard to bowl us over with any unique style, but she clearly knows her characters well enough to make them interesting. Aside from some truly awkward moments between Ladd and her husband, she gets solid performances from the whole cast, especially Judd, who hasnít been this good since Norma Jean and Marilyn.

At the end of the day, Come Early Morning is the kind of indie American film you expect to see at a festival, but again, that doesnít make it bad. Itís a good character-driven movie that feels like itís been made before, but you could certainly do a lot worse. Itís not a movie you want to go to bed with and you wouldnít want to wake up to it in the morning, but it certainly wonít give you a bad hangover.

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originally posted: 01/22/06 19:52:50
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2006 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/02/07 Kim This movie is so real, unlike all the other 'Hollywood' movies 5 stars
11/18/06 Dorothy Still discussing this movie with friends. I liked it a lot. Plan to see it again soon. 4 stars
11/14/06 elaine harris enjoyed it very much, buy like you couldn't understand the nana & Uncle Tim relationship; a 4 stars
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  10-Nov-2006 (R)
  DVD: 20-Mar-2007



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