Honeydripper Reviews

Page 1 of 10
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2014
Despite a charismatic cast and good music, Honeydripper feels dull and lifeless.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Honeydripper" starts on a Saturday night in Harmony, Alabama in 1950 and the Honeydripper Lounge is certainly not jumping. Its proprietor, Tyrone(Danny Glover), even sends his star performer, Bertha Mae(Mable John), home. Tyrone is married to Delilah(Lisa Gay Hamilton) who supports him despite her attending revival meetings. She hopes to save up enough money to send her daughter, China Doll(Yaya DaCosta), to beauty school, so she can make a better life for herself. But Tyrone cannot afford to even buy alcohol and he is behind on the bar's rent, forced to eviction unless he can come up with the money quickly. He hopes that the popular Guitar Sam coming to play will turn his fortunes around. Meanwhile, a young guitarist(Gary Clark Jr.) gets off the northbound train...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Written, directed and edited by John Sayles, "Honeydripper" is a partial return to form for the great director with another slice of Americana, where music is only part of the story. Racism is at the heart, but not in any melodramatic fashion, more in an everday fashion. As somebody else said, these people would not lead such awful lives if they did not have to. So, they need a place somewhere on Saturday night to forget their troubles, be it a bar or a revival meeting with promises of a world better than this one. The crossroads is both a literal and a metaphorical place, for music where blues are about to turn into rock and roll and also where the modern civil rights movement is about to start up. [/font]
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2008
Dull. John Sayles tries to be too cute and ends up creating a snoozer. Why should we care about these characters?
Dracula787
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2008
John Sayles is an odd filmmaker in that his work seems oddly isolated from everything else Hollywood puts out. He?s almost a textbook example of what an auteur is, in that one can guess he directed a film simply by watching a single scene, but pinpointing why his work is recognizable is not always as easy as it is with other filmmakers. There?s something in the dialogue, the way the actors behave, and the ambitious aim of his uniquely American stories that positively define his work behind the camera. His newest film, Honeydripper, was mostly ignored in theaters and I had hoped that it would be an underappreciated gem; unfortunately it?s minor Sayles at best.

The film is set in a fictional Alabama town of Harmony during the very early 1950s. The film specifically focuses on Harmony?s black community, particularly a tavern/dance hall called the Honeydripper. The venue is owned by Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover), but it has fallen on hard times. Purvis is in danger of losing the place to a loan shark, so he and his friend Maceo (Charles S. Dutton) plan a last ditch effort to stay in business by bringing in a famous blues musician named Guitar Sam to play a big gig that would generate enough money to pay Purvis? rent. Purvis has recently drifted away from his wife Delilah (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and is also being threatened by the town?s racist sheriff (Stacy Keach). Meanwhile a young man named Sonny (Gary Clark Jr.) has arrived in town carrying a guitar case and interested in auditioning at the local music scene to make ends meet. Purvis can?t really afford the show he plans to put on and it becomes clear that the evening?s entertainment will be a make or break night for him and the Honeydripper.

There was a lot less music in the film then I had expected, the story clearly deals with people who have music as a major part of their life, but the soundtrack is not loaded with period music. There is a great performance scene toward the end which features the use of a very early electric guitar, the music played is a primitive and toe tapping form of rock and roll.

The movie?s main problem is mainly that it has a lot of southern clichés. Among the types to be found here: a redneck sheriff, an eager young man gone to town to make something of his music career, a white southern housewife oblivious to the rest of the world, and a blind old coot who plays guitar on main street stoops. Occasionally Sayles will do some unexpected things with these types, for instance that Sheriff proves to ultimately be more interested in getting free chicken than oppressing people just for the fun of it, there?s also a neat twist with the blind old coot.

Danny Glover is probably the best thing about the film, he?s got just the right ability to seem like a nice and likable guy, but still having a certain gruffness to his character. It?s clear that Glover?s character has seen a lot over the course of his career as a bar owner and blues enthusiast. He?s a character that clearly has a past and the audience easily gets the gist of it without the movie explicitly showing or describing much of it.

In final analysis, Honeydripper is just a very average and fairly forgettable film. It has a neat atmosphere, the story works well enough, but it?s just a very small trifle of a film. Had I seen it in theaters I would have felt vaguely ripped off, and I?m not sure I?d even recommend it as a DVD rental. But, if you see it on cable or something like that I do think it?s worth giving a shot.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2008
Decent drama about the birth of rock n' roll in 1950's Alabama.Tyrone Pervis' bar,The Honeydripper,is on the verge of being brought out unless he can come up with enough money and keep the place busy like it used to be.When Tyrone books a popular local guitarist to play and he fails to show up it seems Tyrone will no longer have his bar,but when a young drifter comes to the bar claiming he can play guitar and sing,Tyrone comes up with an idea that might just save his job and the Honeydripper and also help change music forever.A great performance by Danny Glover as Tyrone Pervis and a good script.This does seem a tad overlong at times but its a good story with an uplifting ending about the birth of some truly amazing music.
keith222
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2008
John Sayles doing what he does best. Just a simple story about simple people. What you see is what you get, there are no surprises in this one.
February 20, 2012
all star cast bring this period piece set in the early 1950's to life-also look 4 cameo from the ditector
April 20, 2010
It's got a good story in it, but it lacks a bit of structure. It has so much spirit in the music of Alabama 1950.
Danny Glover gives us a decent performance to move the story along, and works very well with Charles S. Dutton.
I felt they could have come to a solution a bit sooner, and felt it had dragged in a couple of bits.
Over all, I did enjoy the music.
July 1, 2008
This film has amazing acting and musicianship, not to mention the cool part played by award-winning blues musician Keb' Mo'. The cast is a wonderful ensemble, each member contributing a great deal to the work of art. The soundtrack is something for the ages as well.
June 30, 2008
I've long been a John Sayles fan going back to the Brother From Another Planet and the Return of the Secaucus 7. This one didnt disappoint me either. This film invoked the sense of Alabama in the 1950's. The music soundtrack evokes a certain feeling also. Strong acting performance by Danny Glover,and the blues artist Keb' Mo plays a convincing street musician
February 6, 2008
What can I say? John Sayles does it again. In Honeydripper, he proves that he can pretty much make a movie about practically anything, and it be successful. The film takes place in 1950 Alabama, and believe me, it looks it. The film is highlighted by a fine, well-rounded cast, led by Danny Glover. Charles S. Dutton and Stacy Keach are among the supporting actors that make the film a success. Sayles script is also impressive, as well, proving that nobody can write and embody dialog quite like him.
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2014
Despite a charismatic cast and good music, Honeydripper feels dull and lifeless.
August 24, 2013
The performances are great but the pacing is off.
December 13, 2011
Historical while relevant. Deep, inspirational, yet not so glum and sour so as to bring down the mood of the movie. As accurate a depiction of life in the 50's for us's folk as has ever been filmed, with all of it's highs and lows, joys and sorrows.
June 22, 2011
Well-acted but waaaaaay too slow and predictable film about race relations and a juke joint in 1950 Alabama.
½ February 3, 2011
(*** 1/2): Thumbs Up

An interesting film. Well-acted and directed.
November 27, 2010
um i like it reminds me of old clasics
½ June 19, 2008
Lackluster period detail and a very slow moving story hinder this from working well. The acting is quite good at least, but is a bit melodramatic. Rather talky which makes at at times tedious.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Honeydripper" starts on a Saturday night in Harmony, Alabama in 1950 and the Honeydripper Lounge is certainly not jumping. Its proprietor, Tyrone(Danny Glover), even sends his star performer, Bertha Mae(Mable John), home. Tyrone is married to Delilah(Lisa Gay Hamilton) who supports him despite her attending revival meetings. She hopes to save up enough money to send her daughter, China Doll(Yaya DaCosta), to beauty school, so she can make a better life for herself. But Tyrone cannot afford to even buy alcohol and he is behind on the bar's rent, forced to eviction unless he can come up with the money quickly. He hopes that the popular Guitar Sam coming to play will turn his fortunes around. Meanwhile, a young guitarist(Gary Clark Jr.) gets off the northbound train...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Written, directed and edited by John Sayles, "Honeydripper" is a partial return to form for the great director with another slice of Americana, where music is only part of the story. Racism is at the heart, but not in any melodramatic fashion, more in an everday fashion. As somebody else said, these people would not lead such awful lives if they did not have to. So, they need a place somewhere on Saturday night to forget their troubles, be it a bar or a revival meeting with promises of a world better than this one. The crossroads is both a literal and a metaphorical place, for music where blues are about to turn into rock and roll and also where the modern civil rights movement is about to start up. [/font]
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