Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. 30
    Trudging nobly under a mantle of impeccably earnest intentions and a fussy, too-quaint-by-half production design, Honeydripper lags and drags to its utterly predictable end. There's not a spark of spontaneity or soul about it.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. LuckyJ
    Sep 21, 2008
    10
    Any John Sayles film is worth a look. Consider "Alien vs. Predator: Requiem" before you start handing out zeros in such a cavalier fashion. (cancelling your stat-skewing, tw, ftw) Full Review »
  2. JayH.
    Jun 19, 2008
    5
    Lackluster period detail and a very slow moving story hinder this from working well. The acting is quite good at least, but is a bit melodramatic. Rather talky which makes at at times tedious. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    Apr 19, 2008
    9
    After lukewarm responses for both "Casa de los Babys" and "Silver City", the godfather of the American independent film movement steps down from his soapbox, for the interim, and goes back in time, to immerse the moviegoer inside the phantasmagorical world of the imagined south, made hyper-real by such "regional" writers as William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. Tyrone Purvis(Danny Glover) owns a two-bit juke-joint, a house of spiritual uplift in its own right, but nevertheless, a watering hole is still just a watering hole, and not a church, by his god-fearing wife's standards. All black music can be traced back to the church, however; all black music was once touched by god. The juke-joint is like The Church of Christ Without Christ. "Guitar Sam"(Gary Clark Jr.) is the man with "wise blood". He knows that the electric guitar is the new jesus of cool. Tyrone might not be a preacher, and his juke-joint might not be a church, but both man and institution are sanctified by music and share an aversion to blood. Flavor Flav(of Public Enemy) once barked, "Honeydripper/sucker sipper/big dipper/sucker dipper," back when the reality TV star was "on a hype tip", incidentally, around the same time that this director made his last period piece film. The one about the coal miners. Once again, we're "Cold Lampin' with Say-le Sayles", twenty years later, with arguably his best film since 1987's "Matewan"(certainly, this is his most accesible outing since 1996's "Lone Star"). When Delilah(Lisa Gay Hamilton) chooses her husband over her church, we realize that she's Lily Sabbath all grown up. It's not the first time she has left a blind preacher for a blind sinner, her husband, the one with a murder rap like Hazel Motes. "Honeydripper", aside from the film's racial component, is about the synchronicity between spiritual and secular music. But there's racial tension, too. It's unavoidable. As racist sheriffs go, though, this sheriff(Stacy Keach) isn't Sheriff Charlie Wade-bad(from "Lone Star", the sheriff played by Kris Kristofferson). "Honeydripper" avoids the usual trappings of other historical films that deal with institutionalized racism(the only burning in this film is a guitar burning), in favor of showing the prevailing caste system between northern and southern "Negroes". "Lone Star" was about race. "Honeydripper" is more about music. And in that respect, "Honeydripper" is his least political movie, albeit politics are rife on the screen, since 1994's "The Secret of Roan Inish". His leftist politics doesn't smother the narrative in pedagogy, this time. Nobody gets lynched. Full Review »