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REVIEW: The Yellow Handkerchief

The actors, including Kristen Stewart, make lightweight material work

The Yellow Handkerchief:
Rates a B+.
Courtesy photo

I hated the title The Yellow Handkerchief at first because I confused the title with White Ribbon and was calling it The Yellow Ribbon. Then the Red trilogy popped up at the Ken and really confused me.

After seeing the movie, I hated the title because it gave away a key scene near the end of the film. Had it been called The Yellow Sail, it would’ve gotten the same point across without giving anything away.

The movie stars Kristen Stewart, who really means nothing to me, since I haven’t seen any of the Twilight films. It was interesting to find out that this movie was made before any of those movies, back in 2007. I’m not sure why it’s just now being released.

The movie also has William Hurt, which is a name I always thought was perfect for him. He always seems to be reading his lines as if it pains him. On this character, a grizzled ex-con, it works (just as his look and acting fit perfectly in the underrated Dark City).

In my mind, I broke into the Donovan song "Mellow Yellow" when I saw the opening credits.

“They call her Maria Bello…”

She continues to dazzle, playing yet another interesting female love interest (Remember those love scenes with Viggo in The History of Violence? One involved a cheerleading outfit, another involved the stairs?).

This is a small, light-weight picture that is both a road trip (without the usual over-the-top wackiness of road pictures) and a chick flick (perhaps the only one ever made where women won’t fall for the male characters).

I enjoyed how the movie shows us little things in flashback that have us guessing what Hurt may have done his prison time for. It really makes it hard to warm up to him even if he is great with his new, young traveling companions.

One of those travelers is the kid with the car, a British actor named Eddie Redmayne, who plays a spaz better than any I’ve seen in a long while. He annoys you when he should, and he grows on you later in the movie—as he should. This kid (well, he plays 16…he’s 27 in real life) is going to have a great career ahead of him.

Stewart, as the woman of his affection (there are a few different love stories working here, a move that always seems to work well in films), plays the angry teen just perfectly; although, it was a bit distracting to see a trailer for the movie The Runaways right before this started (Stewart is playing Joan Jett in that).

I guess you can complain the movie is predictable, but if you’ve seen more than 25 movies in your life, what film isn’t? Did anyone not know who would win the battle in Avatar?

This is a character study that shows the backroads of Louisiana after Katrina in an interesting and slowly-paced way that gives you time to enjoy it and soak it all in.

Sure, there are times that “not a lot is happening.”

There are two different fight scenes, and a total of one punch is thrown.

How a movie gets made that has this little written dialogue in the script is beyond me. I’m just glad it was.

And, had three other actors been in these parts, I’m guessing this lightweight material would’ve been relegated to Lifetime as a TV movie of the week.

If I carried a hanky, I would’ve been balling into it at the end when we see the yellow handkerchief. I’m guessing most people will be moved by this.

It gets a B+.