Get Low (2009)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 70%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,023
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Felix Bush is a hermit who has no regard for anybody in the town or anyone who wants to get to know him. But one day, after a fellow old hermit has died and he hears people in the town telling stories about him, he decides that he needs to get these stories out in the public. He recruits Frank, the local funeral home director, to host his own funeral. This way he can hear what everyone is saying about him, and get the truth to his past out in the open. But will he be able to get anybody to come? And will he be able to reveal his secrets? --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 08, 2010
Guilt can do funny things to people. Films ranging from "Ordinary People" to "What Dreams May Come" have attempted to convey guilt in all its varying forms. The guilt we experience in "Get Low" is altogether different from any I have seen depicted in a film before. We don't really know what it is until the last ten minutes of the film, and by that point, we wonder what all the fuss was about. We understand why the character feels guilty, but we sure do feel like his self-imposed sentence was more than a little harsh. But that's what a good film should do and that's get an audience thinking. "Get Low" does just that. And it's a fine film.

"Get Low" is based on the true story of a Tennessee hermit who threw a riotous funeral party for himself while he was still alive. Here the action shifts to 1930's Illinois and the hermit is a man named Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) who has lived alone in his cabin in the woods for over forty-years. Men and women in town have spun tales of Felix and just about everyone thinks he's as crazy as a loon. One day Felix decides that he wants to throw a funeral party for himself while he is still alive and invite everyone in a four country radius to attend and tell their own stories about him. A young salesman (Lucas Black) convinces Bush to let he and his boss (Bill Murray) plan the funeral in exchange for the wad of cash that Murray calls 'hermit money'.

Over the course of the film we slowly start to peel back the layers of Felix Bush and start discovering what makes him tick and what made him shut himself off all those years ago. We meet Mattie (Sissy Spacek), a former love and acquaintance of Felix's who has moved back to town. We learn that Felix had a relationship with her sister and that it ended somewhat mysteriously. The film builds and builds to a climax in which Felix steps in front of the microphone to tell everyone his 'true' story. In doing so, he seeks to erase the guilt that has dominated his life for years and finally purge himself of those demons that have been haunting him. "Get Low" is Felix's story.

There are so many grand things to say about "Get Low" For starters, if Robert Duvall is not nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award this year it will be a true robbery. Duvall is magnetic here, as he typically always is, and dominates the screen with his presence. He is still at the top of his game as an actor and knows just how to push the rights buttons every step of the way. Bill Murray also turns in a fine performance that tows that line between drama and comedy and he does it with pitch-perfect perception. Lucas Black even manages to turn in probably the best performance of his career, though his accent is still a little much for me.

As a period film, the art direction and costumes are just fantastic and director Aaron Schneider really does a terrific job of transporting us back to the 1930's. The cinematography is simple and effective and the music is exactly what it needs to be for a film like this. But, shining above all the technical achievements, is Duvall and his performance. It's always a treat to watch a master actor doing what he does best, and Duvall seems to be getting better and better with age. He turns Felix into an unforgettable character.

If I have one complaint with this film it is the last 2 minutes after Felix has told his story. They had a chance to end with a bang and they were for the more cookie cutter approach and went out with a whimper. That really did affect my overall enjoyment of the film because I had been led to expect more. Otherwise, "Get Low" is a truly remarkable little film that deserves an audience. It's quirky and odd and a sterling example of why we need to see more Southern Gothic translated to film. Between this and "That Evening Sun", you'd think that Hollywood might start tapping some endless wells of material. See "Get Low", I urge you. 8/10.
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