Tumbledown

Studio: Starz Digital
Directed by Sean Mewshaw

Feb 03, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice
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As Hannah (Rebecca Hall) mourns at her late husband’s graveside, a steady trickle of adoring fans makes pilgrimage to his headstone to leave letters, trinkets, and freshly-rolled joints. Her husband left behind only a remote cabin, two dogs, and one beloved album of lonely-sounding folk music, and though his death is now years behind her, Hannah hasn’t been able to let him go. When a pop culture scholar (Jason Sudeikis) comes to town to research a biography of the late musician—the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death have turned him into a bona fide cult figure—he runs into some resistance from the widow. He sees his project as a way of cementing a brilliant songwriter’s legacy, but she views him as an outsider looking to dredge up dirt about her late husband.

Tumbledown’s denouement can be seen coming from miles away, but the relaxed trail it takes getting there has its pleasures. Hall and Sudeikis deftly navigate both its comic and dramatic beats, and the strong supporting cast—including Blythe Danner and Joe Manganiello—help bring to life the movie’s small-town, American setting. Tumbledown will have extra appeal to music fans, as it doesn’t give its Jeff Buckley/Nick Drake stand-in the Hollywood polish—it’s a rare piece of fiction about an indie musician that doesn’t feel fake. 

Author rating: 6.5/10

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