Director Aaron Schneider has mainly worked as a cinematographer previously – and I hadn’t particularly noticed his work – but he seems to really hit his stride as a director with the lovely, understated, yet indelible, film Get Low.

Just writing about it now makes me want to run out and see it all over again.

Robert Duvall plays a hermit in rural Tennessee during the 1930s.  When he decides to give himself a funeral while he’s still around to participate, he encounters a woman from his past (Sissy Spacek – one of my all-time favorite actors), a smarmy funeral home owner (Bill Murray), and his earnest and kind associate (Lucas Black).  All of the performances are spot on.

The story is rich, too.  I don’t really believe in “universal themes” because I think we say that in reference to Western thought rather than something truly universal over time and place, but some narratives do accomplish a great deal with astonishing economy.  Get Low is one of those stories that feels even greater than the sum of its considerable parts.

As with another recent favorite of mine, Winter’s Bone, I wouldn’t change a frame.   I keep thinking of this film, of particular images and how they were framed, of certain lines and what they conveyed, and, especially, the revelation from Robert Duvall’s character Felix Bush of what it is like to discover in a moment that you have a heart.

There is so much to love about this film.  Go see it.


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