Chrystal
2005
Fragile Chrystal (Lisa Blount) reunites with Joe, who has been in jail, to mend their broken marriage as the memory of their son, who was never found after Joe wrecked their car 16 years ago, looms. While Chrystal's mother, Gladys (Grace Zabriskie), disapproves of Joe's return, Kalid (Harry J. Lennix), a blind African American musicologist from Chicago, rejuvenates Chrystal's spirit -- enough to possibly accept Joe's grand gesture.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

When I was a kid, I was told you had to have a reason to frown. The people behind this movie should have learned that lesson. They tell a gloomy story – a somber man returns home after a prison sentence for the drunk driving accident that killed his young son – and they capture the depressing subsistence-level poverty of life in the Ozarks, but they fail to put anything compelling in the tale to make the journey worthwhile. We're shown scene after scene of anguish, including a grotesquely over-the-top sequence where traumatized wife Lisa Blount first throws herself at her returned husband then collapses into wails of grief for her loss, but there's not one scene in the movie that entertains, illustrates, or educates, with the arguable exception that thems mountain folk sure do sing some purty ditties. Writer-director Ray McKinnon apparently created the film as a vehicle for his wife Blount, but he winds up delivering the only memorable performance, as the local scumbag who enjoys picking away at old scabs. A film needs more redeeming qualities if it's going to spend this long wallowing in a pointless bog of misery.

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