A gentle and usually mellow young man, who sometimes knows things before they happen and gets vibes of premonition, tell us his story: how he met Michelle in Iowa in 1971, how he got the name Fuckhead, how she introduced him to heroin and their falling in love, his thieving, his hospital work and their time in Chicago when she gets pregnant, detox, going to Phoenix to live, AA meetings and a dance, working at a care center where he learns to touch the residents, and modifying his daily schedule so that he passes a neighboring Mennonite household at the right time to hear the wife sing Gospel songs in the shower. Slowly, very slowly, FH lets his gifts emerge. Written by
Well-Acted, Beautiful Little Road Movie Through Addiction
I chose to see "Jesus' Son" for Billy Crudup and director Allison Maclean, who did the terrifically creepy romantic short I saw on the Sci Fi Channel a few weeks ago, "Kitchen Sink."
"Jesus' Son" is a picaresque road movie traveling through addictions, and manages to miss wallowing in the depression that made "Leaving Las Vegas" so unrelenting . Samantha Morton has incredible chemistry with Crudup who is fascinating to keep watching even as his character is a passive naif whom we really don't learn anything about.
My biggest complaint is that the cameos by recognizable and/or famous actors (Denis Leary, Jack Black of "High Fidelity," Holly Hunter, Dennis Hopper) make the source material of short stories--which I assume are where the chapter headings come from-- too obvious; I would have preferred intriguing character actors or complete unknowns.
This is one of those "little movies" where you see a filmmaker in love with her tools of the medium, because it is both literate and explores the story visually, with judicious use of fantasies and hallucinations.
The Joe Henry musical score is wonderful, and the soundtrack selection of alt.country, including several Wilco songs, and offbeat rock and r & b classics are also commentaries on the action (amusingly the only Henry song used comes in over the radio that an annoyed Crudup turns off in order to hear the dialog).
(originally written 6/24/2000)
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