Let Him Go – R – 1 hr 54 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday November 5, 2020
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
#42 new movie seen in theater in 2020
It’s not often that we get to see a movie for grandparents, about grandparents and their strong, unbreakable love for their grandchildren, and yet this movie is even more than that. We’re treated to Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing a rural Montana couple in the 60s and their chemistry is good.
Costner plays retired lawman George Blackledge. He’s kicking it on the farm with his adult son, James, his daughter in law Lorna (Kayley Carter), their grandson Jimmy, and strong-willed, loving wife Margaret. A tragedy on a horse leaves their son dead and Lorna moves onto another man, Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain). All seems to be well at first until Margaret spots something bad happening in town with Donnie, Lorna and their grandson Jimmy. The next thing we know, the family has moved on without even saying goodbye to the grandparents. This puts them into protection and separation from grandson mode. From there, we’re wondering what happened.
Burn Notice’s Jeffery Donovan has an oddly sinister part as one of the Weboy clan and Grandma Weboy (Lesly Manville) is, well, you have to see her in action to truly despise her cold, calculating demeanor. Perhaps the only less than great acting in this movie comes from Lorna, who we can never really get in favor of. She’s supposed to be a victim but there’s something untethered about her performance, likes she’s maybe some part accomplice.
This is all we can say about the story without spoilers. You can see our reactions as we came out of the theater and it’s all good. Going in before the movie I told Kara my suspicion is that we’d enjoy this movie and we sure did.
I have successfully managed to stay away from all other reviews before watching the movie and writing this review, so no idea if others enjoyed it as much as we did. I only have a couple minor complaints.
There were a few scenes that seemed to drag a bit and I felt like if they just cut like 10-15 minutes of the film it would have been even tighter. Also, the ending was entertaining but it felt like we needed an epilogue. At least some sort of coda. Maybe they should have cut the 15 minutes in some longer scenes, like trimmed some of the interplay with the young man who lived on the North Dakota border and added some sort of coda.
2020 hasn’t been a productive year at the theaters for great movies, but this one is very good. It’s almost Oscar bait, simply for the acting performances and the story which might seem pretty basic, but manages to expose a family love conflict we don’t often see on the big screen. Sure, if you watch a bunch of Lifetime you’ll run across stories like this, but they are more rare in wide theater release movies. And I might be somewhat biased, but Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as a couple are worth recommending alone. They could have been in this film reading cereal boxes and pulled it off with vim and vigor. Loved their performances.
Even if you’re not a grandparent or parent, this movie will grip you almost from the beginning and hook you in deeper and deeper as the dramatic tension increases. It’s like a vice on your heart pulling it tighter and tighter and you almost want to turn away but can’t. It’s done matter of factly at times and that caught me off guard. If you’re seeing anything in the theaters in your area, and you like a tense family drama in a western 60s setting, make sure you see this one ASAP.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (Kara – her highest rating of 2020 so far)