Film, Drama
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Gary Clark Jr. in Honeydripper
Harmony, Alabama, 1950: hard times have hit the Honeydripper saloon. Proprietor Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover) is staking his bets on one Guitar Sam, who Ty – hoping to win back the young crowd lost to the jukebox over at the Ace of Spades – has booked to replace his elderly blues chanteuse on Saturday night, when Sam’s set to pass through town. But first Tyrone needs money for beer, electricity… and the guitar man.

Like all Sayles’ films, this bluesy ensemble piece is firmly grounded in time and place; his exploration of the textures of everyday life in the postwar Deep South – not just the politics of race, but religion, sexuality, work, the law, commerce and culture, most especially music – is illuminating in its detail, and authentic in dialogue and characterisation. There’s a host of lovely performances from a superb cast – including Charles S Dutton, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Lisa Gay Hamilton and Mary Steenburgen – immaculately lit camerawork from Dick Pope, and a stirring tribute to the power of music. Oh, and Glover is great.

By: Geoff Andrew


Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday May 9 2008
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Sayles
Screenwriter: John Sayles
Cast: Gary Clark Jr.
Danny Glover
Charles S Dutton
Mary Steenburgen
Stacy Keach
Vondie Curtis-Hall
Lisa Gay Hamilton
Keb' Mo
Yaya DaCosta
1 person listening

My God, this is tedious. You spend the whole film waiting for the electric guitar to be plugged in, then you only get three brief snatches. The acting is wooden, dialogue and story corrny (and reliant on some really dodgy stereotypical racial and sexual politics). What is it about these revered liberal film-makers - nobody can bring themselves to say they're living off past glories (we have our own examples in Mike Leigh and Ken Loach)? Give this one a loud miss (or prepare to fall asleep like I did.


Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy. No surprises in the story, bad acting and even the three or four music pieces in the film weren't that great.