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That Evening Sun (2009)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 864

My Rating

Movie Info

An aging farmer fights to keep the home that is rightfully his after fleeing from a nursing home and discovering that his son has leased the family farm to his old nemesis. Placed in a nursing home by his son and promptly forgotten, Abner Meecham (Hal Holbrook) realized that waiting to die was no way to live. Determined to enjoy his last days, Abner packed his bags and set his sights on the family farm. At least there he could die on his own land, in familiar surroundings. But Abner is in for a



Scott Teems

Apr 1, 2010


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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (7) | DVD (4)

Watching Holbrook, I was reminded again of how steady and valuable this man has been throughout his career.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is a predictability to the story, but that's OK. The acting is superb, Holbrook in particular, making That Evening Sun an understated pleasure.

February 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hal Holbrook's performance in "That Evening Sun" is a piece of work like Jeff Bridges' turn in Crazy Heart -- a veteran actor who knows all the moves, taking a fine little movie and making it great.

February 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the movie is filled with complex emotions and a powerful poignancy, it often manages to be darkly funny, thanks to Holbrook's wily, unsentimental portrayal under Teems' smartly calibrated hand.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Holbrook is] wonderful.

November 16, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Holbrook is a terrific actor, and it's nice to see him in a leading role, but this is still a movie you can skip.

November 16, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Southern Gothic, the real deal, not imitation, with great roles for Hal Holbrook, Mia Wasikowska and Ray McKinnon

January 13, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

With his bravura performance, vet actor Hal Holbrook elevates this modest indie rural drama considerably.

July 28, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Forget Up in the Air: That Evening Sun is truly a film for our times.

July 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Projection Booth | Comments (6)
Projection Booth

As lovely as it is to see the veteran actor Holbrook working his craft as the lead actor in this Southern-fried drama, it's not enough to lift the movie from its sodden melodramatic roots.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Holbrook expertly carries the film.

February 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Throughout the film Holbrook does nothing to soften his potentially unlikable character and winds up earning respect, and even a little affection in the process.

February 13, 2010 Full Review Source:

Audiences are fortunate to finally have the chance to see a fine example of how good an independent film can be.

February 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Whatever magic was in Riordan's books is not in this FX-larded lump of a film.

February 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies | Comments (3)
Jam! Movies

A tough, borderline unpleasant movie that keeps us on edge and waiting for something awful to happen. It may be honest, but, like its protagonist, it isn't likable.

February 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

If an older actor were looking for a great valedictory role, it would be tough to top Abner Meecham, and Holbrook, 83, makes the most of it.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Generates nearly all of its goodwill from a smashing central performance by a long-established veteran.

January 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Giving one of the best performances of his career, veteran actor Hal Holbrook gracefully epitomizes the cantankerous curmudgeon in this richly complex human drama.

January 8, 2010 Full Review Source: SSG Syndicate
SSG Syndicate

Still worth watching because of the fine performances by the actors. Just beware, it is very grim and the two main characters really are very obnoxious.

December 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A good, simple film whose reach doesn't exceed its grasp; it feels a bit like an artificially constructed awards-grab flick, yes, but That Evening Sun has an easy, unforced sense of authenticity that takes it a long way.

December 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

Seems best viewed as a carefully orchestrated character study about a strong-willed man with the dramatic fireworks seemingly slight in comparison.

December 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The 84 year old Hal Holbrook shows how it is done in this Oscar worthy tour-de-force performance.

November 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Back Stage
Back Stage

Holbrook is great as usual...Well-adapted from a William Gay short story by writer-director Scott Teems.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

Audience Reviews for That Evening Sun

The ending was disappointing to me. I understand that every movie can't have a happy ending, and it shouldn't determine the quality of the movie, but i really thought the movie ran out of gas. I loved the scenery, and holbrook was awesome. It just seems that more attention was paid to the beginning of the film. Decent, but by the end I felt it lost something...
April 7, 2011

Super Reviewer

With the captions on.... when the music starts, the captions read, "slow sad music". This is pretty much descriptive of the movie as well but it would need to be VERY SLOW. This is a movie you can multitask while watching. No real point to the movie other than some nice scenery shots!
January 1, 2011

Super Reviewer

Abner Meecham (Hal Holbrook) is old school. His ideas and ways of thinking are his own and progress isn't going to change that one iota. The thing about old school is that it gets put out to pasture to eventually die and rot. That's what happened to Abner, shipped off to a nursing home to wait for his heart to give out. But being the old school kind of guy that Abner is he packs his suitcase and walks back to his farm; his home. It's at home that he realizes how far out to pasture he has been dumped because his farm is really his anymore. His son has leased it to Lonzo Choat (Ray McKinnon), an individual that Abner had little use for to begin with. Choat and his family are trying to make a start with something, though it's unclear whether Lonzo has the skill and drive to get anywhere with being a farmer. It's a kind of role reversal with Lonzo taking the main house and Abner refusing to leave the old sharecropper's shack because this is his home.

What That Evening Sun boils down to is a pissing contest between Abner and Lonzo. For Abner it was enough for his son to lease the place out from under him, but to this piece of trash it was a pure betrayal. In Lonzo's eyes Abner is still the same stuck up old fool that isn't willing to give him a chance and move on. It's time for him to be somebody instead of a drunken joke of a man. These two men banter back and forth trying to find a way to push each other over the edge and claim what they believe is theirs by rights. The sad part of the whole affair is that Chaot's wife (Carrie Preston) and daughter (Mia Wasikowska) are caught in the middle, balancing a drunken husband/father and a cynical old man out back.

At the core of That Evening Sun is what is their to hope for? Are either of the sides in this pissing contest right? Does one deserve their prize over the other? Does deserve even have anything to do with it? In the end it isn't even about the farm. It's about who the competition represents. Holbrook and McKinnon play out their fierce struggle not with fists or weapons, but with words and a few actions that get close to the edge but never quite go over. They play off each other perfectly.

The film could be about a great many things. Holding onto the old traditions. Passing the torch. What it boils down to is who believes they're owed that torch more. Each player has a hand on the bat, but neither are willing to let go. This is a nice film shot in those Tennessee farmlands that I just drove through a few weeks ago, though this film captures a lot more of the spirit as compared to my view from the highway and the Stuckey's. Holbrook is the core of this film and delivers a performance that will be akin to the other aging actors that have started playing the ages in recent years. A very good film that you've probably never heard of.
October 17, 2010

Super Reviewer

That Evening Sun is an absolutely excellent, authentic, and thought provoking drama. The script was top notch, and so was the cast, lead by Hal Holbrook who was tremendous. All of the characters were decidedly realistic and fleshed out. What I really loved about the film was the flawed nature of both the protagonist and the antagonist, this isn't a simple morality tale, it's a true character study that treats people as complex and multi-faceted. This, in addition to its' tense deliberate pacing and beautiful cinematography, make it a powerfully moving film.
October 15, 2011
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

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