Based on a short story, it takes a simple family story and tells it beautifully visually, economically but leisurely, while avoiding cliches. It is the best evocation of small town life since "Last Picture Show," but this is much more rural. The laconic farmer family is the best portrayed since "Straight Story," but that was propelled as a road movie, not what taciturn life on the farm is like, which poses a challenge in a communicative medium.
We see the most charming and complicated relationship between two brothers since another little movie "Smiling Fish and Goats on Fire." Surprisingly, it doesn't take the simple road of competition between the titular womanizing "bad brother" and the younger, loyal "good brother". Instead, Tully (Anson Mount is quite a hunk!) is a direct descendant of the tortured, conflicted James Dean of "East of Eden" and "Giant" (including the Oedipal conflicts there), struggling in a macho environment with his impact on women, his feelings, and his responsibilities.
With completely character appropriate dialogue and body language we watch the impact of old love and falling in love on a father and son who have no words and only gradual understanding. You can't know you're heartbroken until you know you have a heart. The women can have this impact on them because they too are not cliches; they have specific personalities, needs, and even jobs. Julianne Nicholson is very credible and expressive.
Several old men in my audience yawned loudly, so maybe this is a chick flick, but I was involved and moved by the unfolding of realizations in their past and present family and romantic relationships and how Tully comes to grips with them all, like a long, silent, overhead shot of him waking up in an empty bed that manages to communicate so much loneliness and longing.
John Foster's cinematography is simply gorgeous.
The mise en scene is common in country songs, so we're lucky that the director probably couldn't afford commercial country artists on the soundtrack for the usual cliches. Instead we have Canadian alt country singers like Fred Eaglesmith and Oh Susanna (the only names I recognized), with some blues thrown in as well such that Tully even asks what radio station could that be, as they are all very sensitive to music, as it helps them all communicate with each other. And with us.