The Yellow Handkerchief - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Yellow Handkerchief Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 26, 2012
On his way to meet his estranged wife, an ex-convict hitches a ride with a manic teenage runaway and a lost girl who seeks a father figure.
William Hurt delivers another remarkable performance as Brett. Like few other actors, Hurt is able to capture the depth of a damaged soul, a man devastated by his luck and driven to despise his own role in the movie of his life. His scenes with Maria Bello are heart-warming, and he even makes Kristen Stewart look like a real actress. With Hurt by her side, Stewart abandons all her acting crutches -- clutching her hair, contorting her face into a semblance of human emotion, deadpan reactions that say nothing about her character. Hurt does more than make Stewart an actress; in her scenes with him, he makes her an interesting human being. I've seen many of Stewart's films, and this is the only one in which she is bearable.
Director Udayan Prasad does a good job of visually capturing regret. A bare foot, someone walking by - a multitude of quotidian event can spark a reverie of regret, and Prasad turns a lazy narrative technique into a visual representation of Brett's inner life.
The plot, however, is disappointing. Martine and Gordy don't have compelling backstories, and we are given no clue as to why Brett's story has such an emotion impact on them. When we finally discover the reason for Brett's incarceration, the event is a let-down compared to the build-up, and there isn't any evidence to convince the audience that Brett has learned anything during his time in prison; in fact, the film reinforces the fact that people don't change, and thus it's hard to root for Brett, even though Hurt's performance makes it difficult not to care for him at least a little bit.
Overall, I don't see why William Hurt can't play Edward or Jacob or both; at least the leading lady wouldn't be so insufferable.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2012
A little disappointing - kind of dull story that hinted at more than it actually was in the flashbacks. Good cast and good acting. I wouldn't say it is a horrible movie, or not worth watching, but I had hoped it would be better. Kristen is the standout here.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2010
A love lost in the past. A love struggling for a future.

Good movie. Kinda of a slow story but develops really well if you have the patience. The film's perspective is about tolerance, acceptance of things as they are, and forgiveness for loved ones and above all for ones self. A very good performance from William Hurt and everyone in this film. If you like road movies this is one to see, very deep.

One lazy afternoon in a backwater Louisiana town, Martine takes a leap into an unfamiliar convertible. The driver, Gordy, an awkward young itinerant who eyed her in the diner earlier, isn't displeased to find this pretty sylph in his front seat. Soon they meet Brett, a laconic, humble man just released from prison. Martine isn't keen on going solo with Gordy, and now it's raining cats and dogs, so she invites Brett along, and the unlikely trio sets out, each person unsure of the destination. What ensues is a journey through the lush green byways of rural Louisiana and into the depths of these characters' souls.
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2011
The legendary William Hurt does a fantastic job in this moving, yet rather slow, drama. The performances by all were subtle, layered, and charming. A really good story told in a really nice way, with an extremely touching ending. Good Indie flick.
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2011
I remember when this first came out, I was teaching a literature-based composition class, and I kept mistakenly referring to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" as The Yellow Handkerchief.

Wallpaper seems to be an apt descriptor for this film though. It's kinda nice to look at - KStew is very pretty with her balletic movements and rust-red hair pulled off her face - but it's ultimately just background - too many flashbacks detailing Brett and May's melodramatically tumultuous relationship and the disappointing reason for Brett's incarceration.

Eddie Redmayne is the only highlight as the mildly retarded or extremely subversive Gordy.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2010
I think it's a cool road trip movie. Nothing to exciting, but the whole mood of the movie was something I admired and enjoyed. The performances and characters are all really good. Obviously it has some really interesting dialogue and character moments that you don't see in every run of the mill drama. It's interesting that the coming of age story isn't part of one of the teenagers, it's from William Hurt. Very peaceful and I liked watching it.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2009
Cast: William Hurt, Maria Bello, Kristen Stewart, Eddie Redmayne, Emmanuel Cohen, Nurith Cohn, Veronica Russell, Marco St. John, Ross Francis, Jeff Galpin, John Gregory Willard

Director: Udayan Prasad

Summary: Recently released from jail, convict Brett Hanson (William Hurt) grows close to a young couple, Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), while journeying back home to his wife, May (Maria Bello). Set in Louisiana, this romantic road trip drama explores the loneliness everyone carries.

My Thoughts: "This is a character driven story. The acting was really good in this film, and its important that it was because this story depended on it. Maria Bello was great as May who's had a tough life. Kristen Stewart also puts in a great performance as Martine, a girl who is just looking for someone to take care of her and for someone to notice her. Eddie Redmayne was brilliant as Gordy, the nerdy outspoken bright teenager. But it is William Hurt that stands out in this film. He was superb as Brett the quiet tortured soul who just got out of a six yr. stint in prison. The love story in this film is bittersweet. Brett thinks by giving May a way out of the marriage, is saving her from him. He thinks if he wasn't in the picture he couldn't cause her pain. But breaking away from her wasn't so easy for him. During the film you are shown flashbacks of their life together as he tells their story. He realizes he gave up on the only person he has ever, and will ever love. So even through all the years that have passed, he still finds himself longing for that intense love that they shared. Its a tortured kind of love. It's also a story about three lonely individuals looking to belong and for acceptance. Great film if you can handle the slowness of the film. I love road trip films, and a good love story. So this was just my kind of film."
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2012
In "The Yellow Handkerchief," Brett(William Hurt) has just gotten out of jail after serving a six year sentence. After enjoying the benefits of freedom like slowly drinking a beer, he heads towards the river where he catches a ride with Gordy(Eddie Redmayne), an awkward young man who is exploring the area in a vintage convertible, even though he already has a passenger in the person of Martine(Kristen Stewart). Brett does not feel comfortable being in the car on the ferry, even during a storm, and sleeps in the bathroom at a motel room they get for the night. But Gordy's untoward advances towards Martine force a rift in the trio until he tells them that because of the storm, there are no buses running that day.

To its credit, "The Yellow Handkerchief" takes its time in telling its subtly crafted story of characters lost both literally and figuratively in a changed landscape due to Hurricane Katrina, allowing us to get to know them as the movie builds slowly to its neat emotional payoff. Along the way, there is local flavor interspersed with thoughts on forgiveness. That's not to mention the lived in performance from William Hurt, along with the usual exemplary work from Maria Bello.
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2012
Three damaged souls come together in this tale of a man, recently released from prison, returning to New Orleans, in search of the wife he left behind. Gordy (Eddie Redmayne) is a young native American, a guy who has never fit in anywhere. Martine (Kristen Stewart) just wants to find someone who cares about her. And Brett (William Hurt) is the ex-con trying to discover whether May(Maria Bello) still cares. Over the course of an improbable journey of several days to drive the length of Louisiana, these three vagabonds tell their life stories and the viewer becomes invested in the outcome. A well done film, with strong performances from all of the principles.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2011
Nice chill soulful piece. Had this film been marketed better, it could have been a bigger deal, especially with the presence of the "Twilight" queen herself, Kristen Stewart. William Hurt pulls off a heart wrenching performance involved in the unlikeliest of love stories.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
Two love stories warped in one where three strangers set off unexpectedly on a journey through insecurities and emotions.
June 22, 2014
This entire movie appears to be about three outcasts in a car going nowhere and for no reason. Honestly- that's it. I love Eddie Redmayne, but I really should have rented this before buying it. Even the $5 price tag at Wal*Mart was too much.
½ June 13, 2012
A little indie road trip drama that is extremely contrived and completely unoriginal, but not wholly *unpleasant* - there's just nothing really to see here. Kristen Stewart's acting is as lifeless as I was led to believe (I'd never actually seen her in anything), the plot doesn't make much sense, and William Hurt's character is uninteresting to watch. Honestly, the only character I cared about was Eddie Redmayne as an extremely awkward teenage boy (much more excited about seeing him in Les Miserables now), but he was the fourth billed character and certainly the least important of the three we followed most of the time. Disappointing, because I would easily have watched an entire movie with him as the central figure. Instead, I just sat patiently and waited for it to go somewhere.
May 11, 2012
This film was just really great. It made me realize how generally GOOD of an actress Kristen Stewart is, something I never thought I'd admit to in a thousand years. I've seen Eddie Redmayne before in films, as have I seen Maria Bello and William Hurt, so I wasn't super surprised by their heart-wrenching performances.
July 23, 2010
This movie is similar to the movie, "Welcome to the Rileys". I love Kristen Stewart's choice of movies; I have yet to see one of her movies that I did not like. I wish Eddie Redmayne's character (suffering from OCD) had been more fully developed, and William Hurt playing a rough neck was curiously different.
April 3, 2015
A mostly pointless story about a man, Hurt, who needlessly goes to prison for manslaughter and gets released six years later hoping his former wife (the lovely Bello) - whom he forced into divorcing him - is waiting for him. He meets a couple of outcast kids looking for acceptance (the even lovelier Stewart and Redmayne) who tag along to find out his story and force him to see it through. Eh.
November 6, 2014
This is a good road movie. I do like road movies and this one must be ranked in a higher category than most. From character painting to story development and visual narration this little film convinces throughout. William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne form this weird group of ex-con, hurt teen and outcast that travels through post Katrina Louisiana. Slowly the background story of this guy is told and it is captivating how these three people begin to form a unity. Very convincing. 7,9/10 " - rogdie
½ September 28, 2013
Beautiful and sad story with a happy ending. Very good acting from everyone, except Kristen Stewart. I don't know, she was just... there. Is like she does't even try. Never liked her acting, or lack of it.
September 25, 2013
Intelligent editing and great camera work sharpens the actors and their characters. Acting is of high quality bringing a mysterious edge to each scene. This undercurrent gently twists and turns as the history of the past is revealed giving a luscious depth that is very visible. The strength of emotions and characters continues to the final scene. Nibbles: Sesame Noodles with Shrimp and Peppers.
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