Forty Shades of Blue (2005)

R  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  7 December 2005 (France)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 1,144 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 26 user | 38 critic | 16 from

A Russian woman living in Memphis with a much older rock-'n'-roll legend experiences a personal awakening when her husband's estranged son comes to visit.


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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Darren E. Burrows ...
Michael James (as Darren Burrows)
Andrew Lawrence Henderson ...
Sam James (as Andrew Henderson)
Cindy, Babysitter (as Liz Morton)
Arielle Kight ...
J. Blackfoot ...
Gena (as Mary Jean McAdams)
Charly Kayle ...
J. Allen Scott ...
Press Photographer
Earl Randle ...
Old Timer


Wealthy music producer Alan James lives with his beautiful Russian girlfriend Laura, thirty years younger than him, whom he met while he was in Russia on business. They have a three-year-old son. Alan is a music legend, having produced black music during the 60's and 70's, the golden era of Memphis Soul. They live an affluent life in a sprawling mansion on the banks of the Mississippi in Memphis, Tennessee. But, although she is comfortable, Laura feels lonely and isolated. Alan has an estranged adult son from a previous marriage, Michael, a literature professor, who is married and lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Michael and his father have a complicated relationship that is marred by disappointment, hampered by jealousy, and fueled by anger. When Michael returns home to Memphis for the first time in many years, although he had at first disapproved of his father's young girlfriend, a painful and dangerous love affair develops between him and Laura, his contemporary. As this ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

7 December 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

40 Tons de Azul  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in 2006 Independent Spirit Awards (2006) See more »


Annie May
Written by Albert Sommers
Performed by Elvin Bishop
Courtesy of Alligator Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The American Truffaut
4 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Film-making with such an eye for detail and nuance is rarely to be seen in America and I'm overjoyed that the Sundance committee stepped forward to recognize it. Forty Shades of Blue is a fascinated witness to heartbreak and refuses all melodrama, all sentimentality in favor of fully lived characters that are shocking in their naturalism---the Russian actress in particular is astonishing but what is even more astonishing is the subtlety with which the director observes her. It is the most careful portrait of loneliness I have ever seen.

Unlike most directors who point us in every frame at their star or their theme, Sachs--like Robert Altman--often points out details and people of the setting (Memphis) so that we are quite sure we're not seeing actors at all, and the effect is not the closed-room feel you would expect of a love triangle, but a place and time fixed forever by the lens. Ira Sachs has coaxed great performances from his actors, his hometown and the musicians who perform like a Greek chorus throughout. It's quite a masterpiece.

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