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The Last Rites of Joe May (2011)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

65

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,178

My Rating

Movie Info

Dennis Farina gives a tour de force performance in this homage to early-1970s "tough guy" films. Sixtysomething Chicagoan Joe May-a short-money hustler of Rolex knockoffs and bootleg DVDs-returns home from a hospital stay to find out that his apartment has been rented to single mother Jenny (Jamie Anne Allman) and her young daughter Angelina (Meredith Droeger) because everyone thought he was dead. Begrudgingly, Joe accepts Jenny's offer to share the apartment. Joe plots his comeback scheme, but

Unrated,

Drama

Joe Maggio

Apr 17, 2012

Tribeca Film - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (4)

Joe Maggio is a sure-handed director with a good eye.

November 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Farina is terrific, getting the pathos of the character while avoiding the self-pity, and leavening the tragedy with some occasional sputtering humor.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Veteran character actor Dennis Farina gives one of the best performances of the year in a rare lead part as an aging, down-on-his luck small-time hood in "The Last Rites of Joe May.''

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With a few vital strokes - a long, chilly walk and a tired trudge up some stairs - Mr. Farina and Mr. Maggio bring you close...

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Farina has never been more in control of his "instrument," as actors like to say, or more convincing.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story gets close to its goal but winds up lost, leaving Farina holding the bag.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching Joe May feels like walking behind tourists on the Michigan Avenue bridge. Come onnnnnn.

November 23, 2011 Full Review Source: RedEye
RedEye

A down-and-out small-time criminal tries desperately to get his act together.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Unfussy cinematography by Jay Silver captures the chill of a Chicago winter...

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

The film belongs to Farina, whose history as an actor given to tough-guy roles adds poignancy to a character whose last days are a lesson in humility and grace.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Maggio's film may be small, but it's full of texture.

November 2, 2011 Full Review Source: James on screenS
James on screenS

Dennis Farina's washed-up hustler in The Last Rites of Joe May is designed in the in the mold of a classic movie star tough guy, but the veteran character actor's performance also serves to disassemble it.

November 2, 2011 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

Offers Farina the chance to demonstrate his range..a finely etched portrait of a man forced to put the best face on some hard choices - mostly to convince himself.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

Despite some glaring dips into formulaic territory, The Last Rites of Joe May offers center stage to a great performer who's made a career of playing supporting tough guys.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

While Last Rites is not revolutionary, it is solid entertainment.

May 4, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Audience Reviews for The Last Rites of Joe May

While not really showing us anything we haven't seen before, writer/director Joe Maggio offers a solid script and a well rounded title character that Dennis Farina swallows whole like a plate of spaghetti.

Farina is so naturally perfect in this character, which shouldn't surprise as he's played mob types most of his career - but here, even when the script teeters into some truly well worn territory (like how Farina wasn't "there" for his son while said son was growing up), he still remains totally convincing.

The setup here is a good one; Farina gets pneumonia and is forced into an almost 2 month stay in the hospital. When released he discovers that his car has been towed, and in typical governmental fashion, have termed the car "abandoned" and therefore sold at auction. He also discovers that his landlord, figuring that Farina is dead, has tossed his possessions and rented his apartment to a single woman and her 7 year old daughter.

Situations force them all together and a bit of bonding ensues, but it is not in the tale itself, but in the character study of Joe May that gives this film an interest factor. A low level hood who survives by fencing stolen or illegal goods, Joe believes that he is a player; far more important than he actually is. His sense of place is made evident in scenes where he cow tows to a boss (wonderfully played by Gary Cole) and then steps outside the restaurant and refuses a gift from a "lowly" driver, like an officer refusing to step into the enlisted men's club.

From his mannerisms and actions we find out not only who Joe is, but who HE thinks he is, and it is his steadfast refusal to believe that his time has passed that makes him a tragic figure. The final resolution shows the measure of a man, and Maggio does a wonderful job of putting it all into perspective with the closing scene involving Cole.

A flawed man, to be sure, but a real one - and Farina gives this character a chance to breath.
January 12, 2013
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Joe Maggio's expectedly bleak tale of an aging, world-weary hustler is striking in almost every aspect. Underrated actor Denis Farina is finally given a well-written character to work with, and the result is a touching, brilliantly understated performance that works as the film's main selling point. As well, Maggio's down-to-earth direction complements the film's grim tone, which is captured excellently through the use of dark lighting and gritty camerawork. "The Last Rites of May" isn't outstanding due to its being routinely-written and sluggishly-paced, but it's nevertheless an unquestionably well-made character study and the obvious high points of both Maggio's and Farina's careers.
August 26, 2012
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

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