A good movie today, so well told a story I waited through the credits at the end to see who wrote it. William Gay, Tennessee writer, who wrote the story of another movie I loved, That Evening Sun, with Hal Holbrook in his old age, which begins with him walking out of a nursing home. Today's movie was Bloodworth, a family name of what you might call a dysfunctional family. Not dysfunctional like we think of it, but beyond, Southern Gothic beyond. That Evening Sun, also made me look at the credits to see who wrote the story. Today's movie brought the other one to mind by happening in Tennessee among rural people. When I saw he'd written it too, the South in it, the South that is particularly the South, Faulkner the next generation, gave me a sense for William Gay the writer. Tennessee is often forgotten as a Southern state, but it is every bit as Southern as Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Now that I've seen two of his stories made into film, I want to read some of his writing.
Kris Kristofferson and Val Kilmer play father and son in Bloodworth. Powerful characters with overwhelming egos. I didn't even recognize Kilmer until the credits at the end. Which one was Val Kilmer? I'd not seen him in a movie in awhile. He's changed. Kilmer has been in other movies I've liked, The Ghost and the Darkness, Lawless, and especially Thunderheart. I've never taken an interest in Kris Kristofferson, though I've liked him in the movies I've seen him in, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, and I like his singing when I hear it. He's good at what he does, he's just not somebody who draws me to see a movie like Sam Shepherd might, though I appreciate him as an artist when I see him perform. It's the same with Kilmer. His name does not draw me to a movie, yet I appreciate him when I see him.
The story is around a young guy, Kristofferson's grandson and Kilmer's nephew, who is attempting to live a sane life in a family that can't let it happen. The young guy likes to read and write stories, making him the ultra nerd in a family so anti-intellectual it's anti-good sense rural America. The boy is actually traumatized by his family that he has never been able to adjust to. The story in the movie is the liberation from the family when he was pushed to burn down his past and walk away. He found a girlfriend of similar circumstances, her mother a rural oxy-junkie whore. Girlfriend disillusioned him, they parted and later went off into the future together happy in the final scene. And I felt it. I felt their bond, both of them free at last and with the one they wanted to be with. They were free of their pasts. Each one came from a past they had to shed, the story just told.
They walked off into the columns of what I took for Middle Tennessee State University, him carrying books, she with little boy of maybe 2, the pregnancy in the story, happily ever after. And it wasn't even corny. I already knew school was ahead for him, the girl and the kid included. It didn't need to be shown at the end, but it was a nice touch and tied up loose ends neatly. I came through the story wanting a good life for them. It cannot be said they came from humble circumstances. They came from ego-maniacal lifeless circumstances. One uncle lived with his mother lifeless in her depression after forty years of her husband gone. She raised three boys with no direction. She was the sane one who shut down and lived inside herself unresponsive to all around her, taken for round the bend. I can't imagine this story anyplace but in the South. The boy and girl came up in rough circumstances as in the Jennifer Lawrence growing up rural in the South movie, Winter's Bone.