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Forty Shades of Blue (2005)

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

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

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

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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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Take Good Care of You
Written by Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy
Performed by Red West
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User Reviews

 
It won the Sundance Drama Grand Prize?
1 February 2005 | by (Utah) – See all my reviews

First, the plot summary is incorrect in a couple minor ways. Laura, the Russian girlfriend of Alan James (Rip Torn) met him in Russia on a business trip/ conference (according to a long conversation in the film between Laura and Michael (Alan's son). Second they don't live in a penthouse, but on the banks of the Mississippi, in a sprawling 70's era house (NOT luxury but great set). Michael is not a freelance writer, but a literature Professor (as he discusses in a couple instances in the film - but would probably rather be a free-lance writer).

I saw this film at the Best of Fest (Sundance) Screening in Park City, UT, knowing that it was the juried Grand Prize Drama winner with high expectations. After having seen several other films, and having been attending the festival for 15 years, I was very disappointed and quite perplexed that it went away with this honor.

The film plods along revealing the characters as boring, sad, and shallow ghosts. The only exception is Alan (Torn) who does a wonderful job (but he always place this sort of role - a curmudgeonly, outwardly genial, jerk). The story is fairly simple, and verges on Oedipal themes, however, there is no real impact of the relationship that develops between Michael and Laura, as it takes place in a miasma of moral uncertainty. Alan and Laura are not married; Alan openly courts another girlfriend and has other transient relationships, Laura picks up men in bars and has a fling here and there, and Michael is ambivalent about most everything.

The story moves so slowly and the characters have such restrained reaction to what would seem as provocative situations, that the viewer comes away with a sort of numb bewilderment. The dialog is simply awful, and often distracting. Laura goes around saying things that you might expect a Russian Tour Guide to say (which she was year ago). It would be fine if she said and reacted in this way occasionally, from a realistically portrayed film such as this, I want more: more emotion, more anger, more. Laura is just sad - throughout the entire piece.

Michael's dialog is even worse. He's a Literature Professor, but seems illiterate. He says things that at times are harder to understand than Laura with her Russian accent. And the content of what he say's are often out-of-place and silly. His character is also the most shallowly portrayed in the film. He is simply blank. It is never believable that he would have a relationship with Laura.

Don't bother with this film. If you want to see something similar, but with considerable more depth, see The Ice Storm.


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