Romulus is mentally ill, a troglodyte in a New York City park. He's also a gifted composer and the father of a city cop. On Valentine's Day, a young man freezes in a tree near his cave. The police determine it's the accidental death of someone behaving bizarrely, but Romulus believes a friend of the dead youth who says that noted avant-garde photographer, David Leppenraub, murdered him. Romulus, urged on by hallucinations of his wife as a young woman, resolves to catch the killer and manages to be invited to Leppenraub's farm to play a new composition. Can Romulus hold it together long enough to get to the bottom of the death and also to make a breakthrough with his daughter?Written by
Throughout the film, Romulus raves at, and about, a fictional man named Stuyvesant. In Samuel L. Jackson's earlier film One Eight Seven (1997), his character works at a school in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. See more »
In one shot when Bob and Betty toast Romulus in his new suit, Bob's "z-ray" green drink is orange (though this may have been intentional, since it is unclear if the "z-rays" are simply in Romulus's mind). See more »
Don't you watch me! You think you're gonna crawl into my brain and see a show? That what I am? Is that what you think?
What I think, Mr. Ledbetter, is that the temperature is dropping.
I got freezing temperatures all over my brain. And I got legends of angels up there! Like little moths, and they'll beat the hell out of you with their wings!
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For "Billie" 1955-1999 - "love you baby. always have. always will." See more »
It's not really a cave. It's more like a rock shelter. But whatever we call it, it is home to Romulus Ledbetter (Samuel L. Jackson), a sensitive, and sometimes delusional, homeless man in Manhattan. One winter morning, he discovers a dead man outside his abode. But who is this person, and how did he end up outside of Romulus' cave? Or, could the dead man be just another one of Romulus' delusions? The rest of the film follows Romulus, in his quest to solve the mystery.
One of the film's strengths is Jackson's fine performance. With his long curly locks, his dark and grubby attire, his distinctive way of walking, and his stutter, Jackson gives depth to his character, and entreats empathy for a group of people who are too often stereotyped as worthless.
Another strength is the film's ability to contrast street life with high society. Romulus' quest carries him to society's elite. In one sequence, we see images of torture, while listening to opera. In another sequence, we see a homeless man playing classical piano to an audience of art lovers. The contrast is marvelous.
The film's downside is the contrived and hokey plot, with tons of improbable occurrences. Also, secondary roles seem hollow, and exist mainly to advance the plot.
"The Caveman's Valentine" is worth seeing once, for Jackson's sensitive and persuasive portrayal of a homeless man. I just wish the writers could have found some other, more plausible, reason for Romulus to interact with New York City's cultural elite.
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