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68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: It's 1950, and it's a make-or-break weekend for Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover), the proprietor of the Honeydripper Lounge. Deep in debt, Tyrone is desperate to bring back the crowds that used to come to his place. He decides to lay off his longtime blues singer Bertha Mae and announces that he has hired a famous guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a one-night-only gig in order to save the club. Into town drifts Sonny Blake, a young man with nothing to his name but big dreams and the guitar case in his hand. Rejected by Tyrone when he applies to play at the Honeydripper, he is intercepted by the corrupt local sheriff, arrested for vagrancy, and rented out as an unpaid cotton picker to the highest bidder. But when Tyrone's ace-in-the-hole fails to materialize at the train station, his desperation leads him back to Sonny and the strange, wire-dangling object in his guitar case. The Honeydripper Lounge is all set to play its part in rock and roll history. (Emerging Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. 90
    Honeydripper is classic Sayles cinema: an insightful sketch of assorted common folk whose criss-crossing dreams and agendas unfold against larger, more powerful (and sometimes crushing) sociopolitical and cultural forces.
  2. 80
    Honeydripper offers a leisurely, atmospheric production with lots of time to appreciate his largely African-American cast, along with rocking musical interludes and just the faintest wash of spirituality.
  3. Typical of a pretty good Sayles movie. There are few, if any, heroes and villains.
  4. His heart -- and musical soul -- is in the right place, but the film makes you at times uncomfortable with black and Southern stereotypes that may hinder some from fully enjoying an otherwise benign and cheerful tall tale of the Saturday night when rock came to rural Alabama.
  5. 67
    There are precisely zero surprises in how things play out--the main thread is basically "Big Night" revisited--but the film gets better as it goes along, and it closes with a rousing musical flourish, as immensely charismatic newcomer Clark Jr. finally hits the stage. At last, Sayles' sleepy drama wakes with a start.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Has John Sayles finally lost his mojo? How anyone could take a subject like the moment the Delta blues went electric and suck the joy and fury out of it is anybody's guess, but the talky, dull "Honeydripper" represents playwriting rather than filmmaking. And didactic playwriting at that.
  7. 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.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6

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