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Come Early Morning (2006)

A movie directed by Joey Lauren Adams

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Ashley Judd, Welcome Back

  • Apr 12, 2007
COME EARLY MORNING marks the writing and directing debut of Joey Lauren Adams who elects to share a bit of her birthplace atmosphere in Arkansas and while the story is sound and the writing evocative of the personal turmoil of little towns populated by good but bored people, there is nothing new here. But just the opportunity to see gifted actress Ashley Judd strut her stuff is reason enough to watch this little film and makes us wonder where has she been since her 2004 stint in 'De-Lovely'. She is just too fine an actress not to be given more beefy roles.

Lucy Fowler (Judd) lives in a little Arkansas town, a successful contractor with boss Owen Allen (Stacy Keach, another underused fine actor), but a woman without a firm attachment to her fragmented family: her shy and sequestered father (Scott Wilson) has returned to town where he hides in alcohol and steps out only for Holy Roller church services; her grandmothers Doll (Candyce Hinkle) is unstable and keeps to herself and Nana (Diane Ladd) remains in a mutually abusive marriage; and her uncle Tim (Tim Blake Nelson) who is the only stalwart member of the clan. Lucy lives with her friend Kim (Laura Prepon) who understands Lucy's shortcomings: unable to form relationships, Lucy spends her weekends getting drunk at the local tavern and sleeping with anonymous men whom she deserts a dawn.

But things change when Lucy encounters Cal Percell (Jeffrey Donovan) who provides her with the first semblance of normalcy in her relationships with men, a frightening new step she abuses by entering into her drinking mode again. Lucy begins to make changes in her view of her family, her fear of being the mirror image of her father, in her work, and in the way she views men. And the film just trails off leaving us wondering what life will now be like.

Adams has a fine handle on her subject and creates dialog that feels like it should: her election to make such a fine three-dimensional character out of Lucy's father who barely has a line to say is much to her credit (and the strong performance by Scott Wilson!). But in the end it is the pleasure of seeing Ashley Judd in a meaty role that makes the difference. Grady Harp, April 07

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review by . November 10, 2008
"Come early morning" is about a woman that is tired of her drinking habits, sleeping around and her relationship with her family. The movie was not cohesive enough to deliver a comprehensible plot. The movie was all over the place; never explaining the relationships between the different characters (which remained vague at best), nor the process of growth for Ashley Judd's character, it was merely implied. The movie does not know where to go. Although Judd's performance was good, the rest of the …
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Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Come Early Morningcomes as a mid-afternoon career correction for Ashley Judd, an actress oft dissed in the years since her fresh, breakout performance in the indie gemRuby in Paradise. No mystery there: what other lovely and talented woman has appeared in such a string of crummy serial-killer movies? By redemptive contrast,Come Early Morningsuggests a de facto sequel toRuby13 years down the road. Again Judd limpidly portrays a young Southern woman, Lucy, trying to get free of a debilitating heritage--dysfunctional family on every side--and find her way to some kind of contentment. Lucy makes more bad decisions than Ruby did. For her, early morning isn't so much a new day as the hour when she faces waking up with one more guy she couldn't care less about. She plans it that way, because commitment is something she flees with grim resolve. But she also knows that the program isn't working for her.

The writing-directing debut of another offbeat actress, Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), this is a beautifully observed film, free of condescension toward its Arkansas folk, with an appreciative eye for the plain beauties of small-town life and semi-rural roads, and a sharp ear for three-cushion dialogue. "Did I miss Easter?" Lucy's housemate quietly cracks when she finds Lucy dressed for Sunday-go-to-meetin'; Lucy's trying to reconnect with her estranged dad (a magical, almost wordless performance by the wonderful Scott Wilson), who's started attending "a new holy-roller church." She ...

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Director: Joey Lauren Adams
Screen Writer: Joey Lauren Adams
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Weinstein Company
First to Review
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