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The Yellow Handkerchief
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The Yellow Handkerchief More at IMDbPro »

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71 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

When slow is good, and actors shine

9/10
Author: ken_eisner from United States
19 January 2008

A perfect crescendo. During an admittedly slow first half of the film, the audience is drawn in to the actors and the cajun background, its lush greenery and its languid place in Americana.

The actors hold up brilliantly at this pace -- William Hurt is a standout and a more-than-worthwhile Oscar candidate as the sullen, "ghost"-like ex-con and Eddie Redmayne jumps to the fore as a bizarre, overgrown child. The scenery and the pull of post-Katrina New Orleans is powerful, forcing personal choices and sticking in the back of our minds.

Then, when the action turns, and the plot suddenly speeds forward for the latter half of the movie, the viewer has already been drawn so deep inside these rich, pained characters and the twisted swampland that its emotional force, punctuated by minute changes in Hurt's eyes, knowingly elicits empathy and sympathy.

The force of the movie is the slowness, the languid pace that draws the viewer in, and the acting, as good an ensemble as anything that I've viewed this year. It is slow, but slow can be good, good as a cajun conversation.

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51 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Not just another road movie

9/10
Author: richard-1967 from United States
3 February 2010

We saw this as part of a preview cinema club we belong to. And we're happy we did.

The Road Movie is one of Hollywood's long-standing (some would say overused) idioms. From It Happened One Night through Butch Cassidy, Bonnie & Clyde, and Thelma & Louise, to Little Miss Sunshine, good road movies can be a joy. Bad ones, though, are a major drag.

This is a GOOD road movie. Three things make it special. First, it's about three losers, or -- let's just say it -- weird people. None of these characters start out with much appeal (except Kristen Stewart's great looks), but each grows right in front of our eyes throughout the movie. By the end, we like and find ourselves rooting for each, for different reasons. (In this way, the film reminds me most of the wonderful Hackman/Pacino 1970s vehicle Scarecrow, a much under-appreciated film.)

Second, there is splendid acting throughout. Kristen Stewart is headed for stardom, William Hurt does justice to a role only Jeff Bridges could play as well (have we forgotten what a great actor he is?), and the most surprising piece, young British actor Eddie Redmayne, does a terrific turn as a strange kid with a car.

Third, there's the film's perspective, about tolerance, acceptance of things as they are, and forgiveness -- for loved ones and above all for ones self.

Watch it!

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27 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Three Strangers Take a Ride

9/10
Author: ligonlaw from San Francisco, California
5 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a film about three oddly-matched people on a journey. They are strangers to each other, and they are quite strange. The film derives a lot of its early edge from the concern we have for the young girl who is in the company of two potentially dangerous and unstable men. Yellow Handkerchief opens in a cold prison where William Hurt's character says farewell to his fellow inmates. He is tough, hardened, and taciturn, a man well past middle age. As with any convict, you want to know what his crime was.

He takes a bus to a small Louisiana town. There, you get a visual suggestion that his crimes may have been sexual, as the camera shows a gathering of young people outside a restaurant. He drinks his first beer at this diner as we eavesdrop on the teens' conversations. We wonder if he is there to find prey or these young people are there by happenstance.

Hurt's flashbacks are many and frequent, and they begin in this dining room as he contemplates his first taste of beer in the first afternoon of his freedom.

A pretty 15-year-old girl, named Martine, is receiving much attention from two boys her age. Martine is played by 18-year-old Kirsten Stewart, who, in her short life, has appeared in a dozen films and collected half a dozen acting awards. We overhear Martine talking with the more handsome boy. She had been with him the night before, and we hear bits of conversation which sound like the boy may have taken advantage of her. Martine is on her cellphone with her father with whom we learn she has a stormy relationship. He is a thousand miles away on business, and she lies to him about where she is.

A goofy-looking boy, named Gordy, seems to be in constant motion. Gordy is smitten by Martine's charms, and he appears to have no chance with her. He says odd things and speaks inappropriately. He is in and out of the dining room as Hurt sips his beer enjoying freedom. The goofy kid wants to buy throw-away cameras with expired dates. He claims he is native American, but he looks Anglo. He is a bit weird. Hurt would later explain Gordy's behavior to Martine: "He is young for his age." Gordy is played by Eddy Redmayne, who looks much younger than his 26 years. A fine British actor who appeared in "The Other Bolyn Girl," "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," and "The Good Shepherd," plays a misfit with serious emotional problems in this movie.

The goofy-boy, the pretty girl and the ex-con leave this small Louisiana town in Gordy's old convertible. Their destination is uncertain except that they head south. It was bad judgment in the extreme for Martine to go away with the two men. A romantic girl, she is strangely attracted to the ex-con who is three or four times her age. The journey proceeds in serendipitous and unpredictable ways.

Along the way, layers of our first impressions peel away as these three reveal much about themselves.

Critics have said that American films are about objects like cars, guns, houses, airplanes and ships, while European films are about people and relationships. In this poverty-saturated section of Louisiana, the only thing to see is the human interaction. Tension pulls us into this film because what we know about these characters makes us apprehensive. We are further drawn in by curiosity; we want to find out who these strangers are and why they are together at all. An odd coupling, not one is much like the other. As the drama unfolds, we learn more about each one and find reasons to like and admire them.

This is the kind of film that actors crave; they can strut their stuff and show their chops. William Hurt,one of America's finest actors, does not disappoint. The Oscar-winner's fellow travelers are excellent. Maria Bello has a supporting role which comes through Hurt's flashbacks. She plays another quirky, hard woman with a soft core.

This film is one of those fine dramas which was a risk for the producers. It was too good not to make, but it is a film that could tank at the box office because it does not feature car chases and gratuitous explosions. This is drama for intelligent people which probably deserves Oscar nominations but it could pass under the radar of film audiences and critics. Each year Hollywood sends us some rare gems that we must look to find. Great films go unnoticed and are unfairly ignored. A short list would include "Antwone Fisher," "My First Mister," "Life As A House," "What We Lost in the Fire" and "Finding Forester" - all deserving Oscar consideration in several categories, but lost in the shuffle at the end of the season. This might end up on the list of great films you never saw if you don't go see it.

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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful movie with meaning

8/10
Author: (moossaboossa)
6 December 2010

There are movies, such as this and many others, that sometimes don't appeal to people do to the slowness of it all. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see the low rating that it received. The Yellow Handkerchief tells the touching story of three broken individuals, each with their own troubled past and lingering issues; who share one thing in common: the need to escape. The entire plot is centred around a long car journey, in which Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (Eddie Redmayne)slowly unravvel the mystery of Brett Hanson (Willian Hurt) an unhappy man, recently released from his sentence in prison. The movie is an Indie movie, and it does appear to be rather slow. The script isn't as chatty or invasive as the blockbuster movies we're used to, and there is a lot of scenery. But regardless, the theme of the movie is easy for people to relate to. You don't have to be a convict, or an abandoned child to understand it- the entire story, is about making mistakes. And eventually, the message becomes clearer: that the people who forgive you, and offer you a second chance, are those who love you the most. There are so many different ways to see this movie, that I will point out that that's only my interpretation. I highly recommend this movie, but only if you're in the mood for a more symbolic movie rather than fast paced; action packed thrillers..

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Moving story set in rural Louisiana

7/10
Author: wmjaho from Park City
19 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm always a little apprehensive about ex-con redemption films. They are generally predictable, and the emotional puppeteering is all too easy and familiar. And I must acknowledge that in The Yellow Handkerchief, there is more than a little of all that. But I don't think that's at the core of the movie. Rather, this is a story about three individuals, all lost and lonely, led by fate into a beat-up convertible, and finding themselves unexpectedly on a little road trip in post-Katrina rural Louisiana.

Award-winning German producer Arthur Cohn put together this project, and Indian director Udayan Prasad made some great casting calls. William Hurt is at the center as Brett, a just-released ex-con battling his demons (which are gradually revealed throughout the movie) and tenuously reentering the outside world. It's a role that comes naturally to Hurt, more like his classics The Big Chill, The Doctor and The Accidental Tourist than his arresting departure in The History of Violence. The inescapably sexy Maria Bello shows up mostly in flashbacks, as the love of his pre-prison life. Eddy Redmayne (Gordy) and Kristen Stewart (Matine) steal the show as the youngsters who meet in a store, and find themselves moments later asking Brett to make them an unlikely threesome.

Prasad does a great job of sharing with the audience the unadorned emotions at play as these three feel each other out, and gradually get comfortable together. There is natural tension, as Brett is older, obviously hardened, and something of mystery, and even more so when they find out he is an ex-con. But also anger, fear and disgust, before the softening. The strengths and weaknesses of each character are slowly exposed as their journey leads them in search of acceptance, hope and love. And talented cinematographer Chris Berges brings an eerie sadness to the Louisiana bayou country, not nearly recovered from the ravages of Katrina.

The Yellow Handkerchief may move too slowly for broad public acceptance. But the story never lagged, holding the audience throughout, and rewarding them at the end. One might accuse the ending of being a little hackneyed (and one would be right) but that hardly dulls the shine of a movie that leaves you feeling positive and optimistic.

Sundance Moment: Prasad, Cohn, Hurt, Bello, Redmayne and Stewart were all at the premiere. Best line was from Cohn, who said some people told him this was a "little movie." "There are no little movies or big movies," he repeated twice. Sundance philosophy in a nutshell.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The faith only teenagers have in love

8/10
Author: Cassa Lake from Australia
13 August 2010

If you are planning on seeing this, DO! It is a bit slow but you will come to love the characters and their flaws. It is not average road-trip to self discovery it is more. The lead characters have a tense and fearful journey ahead. As they open themselves up to each other we see the story take a journey that reminds me of To Kill A Mockingbird as we see the film from two innocent teenagers points of view. The writing is sarcastic and not at all Hollywood flashy it is down to earth and heart warming. A truly uplifting story to all who to let your teenager nature over-run them for 2 hours. You just might believe there is a happy ending in life for everyone. You should watch this movie, it is not one to miss!!

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Three Damaged Souls

9/10
Author: druid333-2 from United States
18 March 2010

What starts out as what appears as just another road movie turns out to be three tales of inter generational angst. Brett Hanson is an ex convict that is on a mission to find his lost love. Martine is a 15 year old girl who is just discovering life,and Gordo is a 16 year old boy,who is kind of geeky,gawky & awkward around girls,but wants a girl friend in the worst way. When their lives intersect at a rest stop,the three hit the road,looking for their own adventures. Along the way, truths are revealed,tears are shed & (potential)friend ships are forged. William Hurt ('Kiss Of The Spider Woman','The Big Chill',and most recently,'End Game')is Brett,a man who tries to get by with few words as necessary,who carries a dark secret & has a mission in life. Maria Bello is his ex wife,May. Kristin Stewart (previously seen in 'Twilight',and 'New Moon',and soon to be seen as Joan Jett in 'The Runaways')is Martine,a girl who is looking for something better in life than what she's being offered,presently. Eddie Redmayne is Gordo, who first comes off as something of a jerk at first,but matures a little, (for his own good). India's own Udayan Prasad directs from a screenplay written by Erin Dignam,from a story by Pete Hamill. This is a slow moving film that has to work it's way into your system,but is worth the test of patients in the end. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA,this film contains brief sexual content,some rough language & brief outbursts of violence (but nothing bloody or gory)

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Must watch drama

8/10
Author: uthusantuhan999 from Indonesia
20 October 2012

Great Love story, I like it when you Americans put a bunch of characters on a road trip. Classic!. This film takes you beyond the bitter part of life back into the sweet.

The music just blend in, the camera capture is somewhat 'spiritual'.

Simple movie, brought tears to my spirit's eyes. This one truly touches the heart. One great movie making!. Salute. The cast is perfect in their place.

People may shine only in a moment in their life. And that moment will shine forever in whosoever is touched by it. I almost give up on Hollywood, but this shows, you still can do it right!

Salute ^ ^

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A good movie about redemption & love

6/10
Author: Saad Khan from Pakistan
14 August 2010

THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF – CATCH IT ( B ) The best thing I loved about this movie was the Odd Characterization; William Hurt as Ex-Convict, Kristen Stewart as 15yrs old Confused Teen, Eddie Redmayne as the weird psycho nerdy dirty teen and Maria Bello as any other woman who gets tired of her life. A good attempt by the director and he made most out of the script. It keeps you intriguing and wondering what happened between Maria and William plus a weird relationship between Kristen and Eddie keeps you stuck with the story. Though I have felt at times it gets little slow but then again it paces up. Kristen Stewart looks damn gorgeous and acted well. Eddie Redmayne as a psychotic weird teen did a good job, another Britain import to look out for. William Hurt and Maria Bello are seasoned actors so obviously they were great. Overall a good movie about redemption & love.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Love: Finding It, Losing It, Reclaiming It

8/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
3 July 2011

THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF is a very quiet, small film that depends on dialogue rather than action. It began as a short story by Pete Hamill and was adapted for the screen by Erin Dignam. As directed with quiet intensity by Indian director Udayan Prasad the film is more an exploration of isolated individuals who for different reasons do not fit into society and how four of those individuals discover themselves through their interaction with each other.

Brett Hanson (William Hurt) is discharged form prison where he has served six years for manslaughter: he has a history of run-ins with the law and seems to face his release with a certain degree of fear of the outside world. He meets two youngsters - the lonely Martine (Kristen Stewart) who has only a father and an absent one at that, and Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), a Native American asocial misfit itinerant - and because of a sever rain storm the three set out in Gordy's car to find shelter. They stay in motels and gradually each characters past unfolds: the running development is Brett's history of coming close to a significant relationship with a fearful woman named May (Maria Bello) whose fear of relationships was temporarily resolved with her romance with Brett - all of this history is played through flashback scenes when Brett was working oil rigs in New Orleans. Martine and Gordy are fascinated and a bit fearful of Brett as an ex-con but they both connect with Brett's essentially good spirit and insist that he stay with them and allow the bonding youngsters t help him recover the one love he had.

Two generations of lost people collide then bond and learn from each other. There is considerable emotional energy in this somewhat laconic film with as much being discovered by silences as with dialogue. William Hurt offers a profoundly understated performance: Stewart and Redmayne provide the perfect naïve foil for his reconnection with the world outside prison walls - both the physical prison he has just left and the mental prison in which he has been hiding all his life. Maria Bello is convincing as the strong woman who fears vulnerability while desperately in need of being loved. This is a film that may not have made it in theaters but is probably best viewed in the intimacy of the home via DVD.

Grady Harp

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