Rudderless

Starring: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Laurence Fishburne, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Selena Gomez
Directed By: William H Macy

Rudderless was a huge surprise for me this year. Honestly, I hadn’t really heard anything about the film. It flew completely under the radar during awards seasons, likely because it was released in October, and made 58K in its theatrical run. I caught up with it at Redbox, and it just blew me away. More specifically, Billy Crudup blew me away.

Rudderless, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, follows the story of a man (Crudup) dealing with tragedy. His son died during a college school shooting. Tired of being asked how he feels by the press, he gives up his high paying job, and his wife, and his home, and moves into a boat, and away from everyone else. He goes off the grid, and makes his pocket change by painting homes in the area. It isn’t until his ex wife (Huffman) unloads their sons original music on him that he starts thinking of doing something else. Soon, he finds himself playing his sons original music at an open mic, where he meets Quentin (Yelchin). Quentin is a lost youth, who immediately connects with these songs and these lyrics, not knowing who wrote them. Soon, others become a fan, and they are able to form a band… “Rudderless”.

Of course, the story here is much darker, and since I had no idea it was coming… I won’t ruin it in the review. I think part of what makes this movie so brilliant is that it is so well crafted that you’re blindsided halfway through. Now you’ll be looking for it, but please don’t. Try to just let it happen, and embrace it.

Billy Crudup is brilliant as a suffering father who chooses to hide from his past instead of confronting it. Eventually, through helping Quentin, he helps himself. He’s able to fix the things he couldn’t fix, and with the help of his sons music, and the help of Rudderless, he can finally be whole again.

Also, the music here was written for the film. I don’t know why this film was ignored by the Original Song voters, because the songs are beautiful. It’s like a film full of “Lost Stars”. Maybe the problem was the embarrassment of riches, and the inability to choose just one or two songs.

Rudderless was my most unexpected viewing pleasure of the 2014 film season. It was a film I knew almost nothing about, with an actor I don’t normally like, and I ended up absolutely falling in love with it. While writing this review, I’m already trying to figure out when I’m going to watch this film again, and making a mental list of all the friends I know that need to see this film. Truly, a remarkable effort from William H Macy. It’s a shame that this film just was not seen by more people. Only 43 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, versus 126 for fellow failed Oscar hopeful Men Women and Children, or even the 53 that Kristen Stewart’s Camp X-Ray amassed.

Be a trendsetter and embrace Rudderless today.

FINAL GRADE: A

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