Joe Rasnick (Fox) works in a factory. In the evenings he plays in a group called The Barbusters which also features his sister Patti (Jett), a rock'n'roll rebel and mother of an illegitimate son. Their mother (Rowlands) has found the Lord and lost the ability to communicate with her daughter. When Joe is laid off, the group take to the road, but Patti's light fingers in a supermarket lead to a further schism, this time with her brother. More trauma when their mother succumbs to The Big C. What at first seems just another dreary blue-collar melodrama turns out to be something infinitely superior. Schrader's strong sense of place exploits the wintry wastelands of Cleveland, Ohio, and the familiar hallmarks of alienation and resistance to repression - in this case to religion, rammed home with a vicious plot twist - compensate for the superabundance of rancid rock, presumably included to titillate the teenies. The cast make the most of an intelligent script, with Rowlands and (especially) Jett providing most of the emotional punch. They create a powerful feeling of real lives being lived and lost.