Come Early Morning

Josh Bell

Not to spoil the plot (or what qualifies for such in this languid, laconic film), but she sure can. The best thing about Adams' film is its unhurried, casual naturalism, as honest and low-key in its portrayal of human relationships as it is in its depiction of the Arkansas landscape, with beautiful cinematography by Tim Orr. Morning is a character study of a character who actually deserves studying, and a love letter from Adams to the South where she grew up.

Judd gives her best performance in years as Lucy, an affable but lonely woman in her mid-30s who sublimates her desires to reconnect with her emotionally distant father (Wilson) and physically distant mother by getting drunk and sleeping with whatever guy comes along, only to sneak out rather clumsily the next morning. "You talking or drinking?" is the way that the bartender greets Lucy at her favorite hangout, and the latter is clearly her preferred method of social interaction (as it is for most of the other characters).

For someone who doesn't do a whole lot over the course of the movie's 97 minutes, Lucy actually develops in surprisingly meaningful ways. She meets a genuine nice guy (Donovan) who doesn't just want to sleep with her and never talk to her again, and has trouble dealing with the idea of a real relationship; she adopts two sometimes clunky metaphors in the forms of a stray dog and a cast-off jukebox; she finds solace and replacement father figures in her boss and a kindly barfly.

Any revelations that show up are small and believable, and by the end of the film, Lucy has solved nothing yet seems somehow better for it. The audience is better off, too, for having spent time with this warm and achingly real person, whose traumas are slight, but depicted with perfection.

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