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August 30, 2010

Honeydripper (2007)
Director: John Sayles
Actors: Danny Glover, Gary Clark Jr, Yaya DaCosta

Synopsis: In 50s rural Alabama, it’s crunch time for the “Honeydripper” bar and its owner Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover).

Review: Though hardly covering new ground in his latest ensemble drama, John Sayles nevertheless creates an endearing and heartfelt elegy to the subtle changes taking place to a small Alabama community in the early 1950s. Sketching the social politics in with broad strokes rather than the more expansive canvas of some of his other films, proves a sensible ploy in maintaining the feelgood air of nostalgia and not smothering the trajectory of the narrative too much. As elsewhere in his oeuvre, Sayles proves a master at slowing the pace down so his characters can exist organically on-screen, and in letting a sense of time and place seep into the audience’s conscious. Though marginally schematic in one or two of the climactic sequences – almost as if Sayles is trying too transparently to tie up the various subplots into one optimistic whole – I still take as much pleasure from a Sayles minor work over so-called ‘major’ pieces from more renown filmmakers currently working in American cinema. (July 2008)

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