America, early 1960s. Former sheriff George Blackledge (Kevin Costner) and his wife Margaret (Diane Lane) live on a ranch in Montana and breed horses there. Living with them is their son James (Ryan Bruce), his wife Lorna (Kaley Carter) and their newly born child. One unfortunate day, James falls badly from his horse, breaks his neck and dies.
George and Margaret were glad that after the death of her husband Lorna and their grandson continue to live with them on the ranch, but three years later Lorna married a certain Donnie Wheboy (Will Brittain) and moved with her son to her new husband’s apartment in the city. Margaret really did not want to part with her grandson, who reminds her of her dead son, but she has no choice.
Once Margaret, going to the city for groceries, saw Donnie on the street with Lorna and the child. Donnie didn’t like the kid dropping the ice cream, and he first slapped him in the face, and then hit Lorna in the face, who tried to stand up for her son.
Returning home, Margaret baked a cake and went to town to visit her daughter-in-law and grandson. And there she learned that Donnie and his wife and child had gone somewhere in North Dakota – his family lives there.
Margaret is determined to find her grandson and take him in with her. George considers this a completely wrong idea – in the end, Lorna will simply refuse to part with the boy and nothing can be done about her. However, Margaret is not one of those people who can be stopped if they decide to do something, and George realizes that if he does not go with her, then she will go herself – and then they go to North Dakota.
The script for this film was written by director Thomas Bezucha based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson, written in the style of a neo-western drama. (By the way, Bezucha is the screenwriter of the cute movie The Book and Potato Peel Pie Club.)
The picture is also staged in the style of such a neo-western, despite the fact that the main events here take place in the Northwest of the United States.
The film starts slowly enough, then turns into a kind of road movie (Margaret and George don’t know exactly where the Weeboy family lives in North Dakota, so they have some searches ahead of them), and when they do find this family, headed by such a “Mother Baker” Blanche Weeboy (Lesley Manville), then the action accelerates sharply, because the Weeboy family are specific scumbags, and Margaret quickly realizes that it will not work by definition to negotiate with a completely badass Blanche.
The production style is old school in a good way, reminiscent of some of the paintings of Clint Eastwood. And the development of events is shown quite realistically, otherwise I kept expecting that the former sheriff would suddenly turn out to be a superhero, but no – nothing is out of style here.
Kevin Costner and Diane Lane have already played a farming couple with a son who turns out to be Superman. But here, of course, it’s a completely different story.
In this film, Costner’s character seems to have migrated from the Yellowstone series: a stern, reticent man capable of decisive action. However, the picture shows who exactly in this family makes decisions – this, of course, is Margaret.
Well, in general, this film is about the confrontation between two women, each of whom leads her own family, and the men here do certain things under the influence of women. Which gave some viewers and even critics a reason to start whining about the “anthem to feminism” again, and this always makes me laugh a lot, because this characterizes the whiners themselves in a very definite way.
Diane Lane is excellent as Margaret. Strong personality, very solid image. At the same time, Margaret is not a manipulator, as some reviews say for some reason. Well, it just happens that in some families it is the woman who makes important decisions, and her husband either supports her in this or not. George supports her and, apparently, supported her all his life, but at the same time, George is not a “henpecked” at all: the former sheriff is not a petty office clerk for you, he is a really capable man, and Costner plays just such a character.
Mama Baker Blanche is an even more interesting character, played by Lesley Manville to perfection. At the same time, I completely disagree with those reviewers who considered Blanche a caricature, and the Weeboy family itself (Blanche has four sons) – unrealistic. In my opinion, Blanche is quite realistic, and all this family. I did not notice any such exaggerations there: a family as a family, although not very attractive. But families are not always attractive, and in any country.
I like this movie. No, it’s not necessary to watch at all, but it’s well staged, the development of events is on the rise and comes to the finale almost to a catharsis, the acting is excellent, the times of the sixties are recreated great. I didn’t regret watching it at all.
PS By the way, the director’s surname, which in the original is written as “Bezucha” and should supposedly be pronounced as “Bezucha”, is actually pronounced as “Bazooka” – I read about it here, I quote:
THE Hollywood filmmaker Thomas Bezucha (pronounced “bazooka”)…
Blood Ties / Let Him Go review
Director: Thomas Bezucha Cast: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Caylee Carter, Ryan Bruce, Otto Hornung, Bram Hornung, Leslie Manville, Will Brittain, Jeffrey Donovan, Connor McKay
Drama, Canada-USA, 2020, 114 min.