Robert Duvall. Sissy Spacek. Bill Murray. If that’s not an easy sell, I’m not entirely sure what film would be. As expected, the acting in Get Low is phenomenal across the board. Even up and comer Lucas Black more than holds his own with these legends. The acting is the magic the movie tries so hard to make. Unfortunately, the allure of the fanciful southern folktale misses the mark. There are magic moments but Get Low fails to sustain itself consistently. Even so, it is a great pleasure to see these actors at work and tell this moral laden fable.
Robert Duvall plays an infamous town recluse, Felix Bush; Sissy Spacek plays his love of times gone by, and Bill Murray plays a funeral director. The premise is shockingly simple: the entire story centers on a funeral—only, it is for the still living Mr. Bush. If that were not strange enough, the funeral itself is no ordinary affair. In lieu of somber speeches and tears, there is an enormous party, with a raffle no less. But most surprising to me is that this film is based on a true story. A man by the name of Felix “Bush” Breazeale convinced counties of people to come to his “funeral party” by raffling off his property for next to nothing. The curiosity alone is appealing but the film presents a story the wider world needed to hear for its message on greed, love, and real life in the small town South.
Though all of these perspectives are intriguing, I somehow keep focusing on the fact that the film is couched as a folktale when really it is much more of an nontraditional love story. The intriguing part of this film is the dimension of older people in love. What would be so wrong with saying that? Is our world still that stuck in the traditional model of attractive, youthful happily ever after? Are we just not ready to think of the love lives of older people—beyond The Notebook in which we see their love mature from their youth? I think the answer to all those questions is yes.
The advertisers probably rightfully chose not to focus on this key aspect as for many audiences, it is not a major selling point. But as a feminist and someone critical of society’s scope of love, I think it is one of the most important reasons to go out and support this film.