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Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: 'Get Low'

August 25, 2010 |  3:30 pm


"Get Low" is one of those fine character studies that is blessed with good characters and even better actors to bring them to life. Set in the hills of Tennessee during the '30s, it swirls around legendary recluse Felix Bush, played by Robert Duvall, who decides he wants to stage his own funeral in time to attend.

There is a very funny turn by Bill Murray as a sly shyster of a funeral director more than happy to take his money, with Lucas Black as his much better, much younger No. 2.

Sissy Spacek, in a performance that seems to catch her "Coal Miner’s Daughter" a few decades later, has lingering affections and a bitter grudge toward the old codger that she’s still working through. Watching Spacek and Duvall play off each other is enough of a treat on its own to put the movie on your to-do list.

But Felix, never the most popular person, is worried no one will show up, so there’s a lottery to make sure they do.

The filmmakers capture the raw beauty of the region and the raw culture it produced. In director Aaron Schneider's hands, it all makes for a blissful way to spend a few late summer hours -- a warmhearted story in the cold comfort of a theater’s deep freeze.

-- Betsy Sharkey

Photo: Sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall in "Get Low." Credit: Sam Emerson / Sony Pictures Classics

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