See This: Jesus’ Son

Samantha Morton and Billy Crudup in Jesus' Son
Samantha Morton and Billy Crudup in Jesus' Son



The son in question is played by Billy Crudup, a near schizo drug user on a no-brain road to nowhere. But never mind Crudup, wait till you see the performance by Samantha Morton. When she was cast in Sweet And Lowdown, Woody Allen’s uncharacteristically misogynist film, Allen had her playing a mute. Even so, she stole the film from under Sean Penn’s chiselled cheeks. Here it’s brave Crudup who’s standing too close to the flame. She plays the girlfriend, a hopeless smack-happy, grinning, winsome and overwhelmingly simpatico partner to FH (Crudup, who at the time seemed to be on the brink of something big). Together they bounce from balls-up to self-inflicted distress, shooting up all the way. If that sounds glum, be reassured, Jesus’ Son has its funny scenes too, hilariously funny at times. It also gets the early 1970s period about right and the support players are strong – Jack Black, Will Patton, Dennis Hopper, Denis Leary. But back to Morton, who is so good there’s the suspicion that someone upstairs decided that to keep the focus on the star she’s going to have to be struck dumb – hot dang, someone already did that. So instead Morton is killed off at around the halfway and point and the film immediately starts behaving slightly like a car that’s had the air let out of its tyres. It’s worth the ride before and after the jump.

© Steve Morrissey 2013


Jesus’ Son – at Amazon




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Jesus' Son (1999) Drama | 107min | 7 July 2000 (USA) 6.9
Director: Alison MacleanWriter: Denis Johnson, Elizabeth CuthrellStars: Billy Crudup, Robert Michael Kelly, Torben BrooksSummary: A gentle and usually mellow young man, who sometimes knows things before they happen and gets vibes of premonition, tell us his story: how he met Michelle in Iowa in 1971, how he got the name Fuckhead, how she introduced him to heroin and their falling in love, his thieving, his hospital work and their time in Chicago when she gets pregnant, detox, going to Phoenix to live, AA meetings and a dance, working at a care center where he learns to touch the residents, and modifying his daily schedule so that he passes a neighboring Mennonite household at the right time to hear the wife sing Gospel songs in the shower. Slowly, very slowly, FH lets his gifts emerge. Written by <>


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