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With Jim Sabatini

That Evening Sun

That Evening Sun
Hal Holbrook, Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston

Rated: PG-13 brief strong language, some violence, sexual content, and thematic elements
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 6, 2009 Released by: Dogwood Films

An understated, involving Southern Gothic drama allows octogenarian Hal Holbrook to shine in a lead role.

That Evening Sun stars Holbrook, Walton Goggins, Ray McKinnon, and Dixie Carter (Hal's off-screen wife) as the former "Deep Throat" and Mark Twain does much better than Andy Griffith did in Play the Game.

His aging, spiteful, and irascible widower Abner Meechum worked as a Tennessee farmer and has been saddled in a nursing home by his attorney son (Goggins).

A departing, now homeless Abner relocates back home, only to learn that his self-centered, avarice-filled son has leased the farm to his old nemesis, the "white trash" Choat (McKinnon).

The cantankerous, squacking and surly fellow with a broken hip makes his way into the guesthouse. Directed at a measured pace with some visual flair by Scott Teems, the film is committed to understanding the defiant hellishness from a retiree's vantage point.

Carrie Preston and Mia Wasikowska are good as Choat's long-suffering wife and rebellious teenage daughter. And, Barry Corbin is a hoot as a commiserating neighbor of the grumpy old man while Carter appears in a bit of reminiscing. But, it's Holbrook (so good in Into the Wild) and McKinnon as protagonist and deeply anguished antagonist that helps bring a vivid gracefulness to a film that reaches a potent high point - even if this adaptation of a William Gay short story does call to mind last year's hit Gran Torino, especially in the multi-generational angst around a bigotted, stubborn curmudgeon.

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