The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
It survives on its versatile leads, its smoky cinematography (courtesy of Dick Pope) and its seductive musical performances, which run from gospel to jazz to blues to the to the electrifying kick-start of early rock 'n' roll.
Although Honeydripper won a screenplay award at the San Sebastián Film Festival, it's not Sayles' strongest work. Part of the problem is that it keeps building to a rock-'n'-roll payoff that never quite arrives.
Trudging nobly under a mantle of impeccably earnest intentions and a fussy, too-quaint-by-half production design, Honeydripper lags and drags to its utterly predictable end. There's not a spark of spontaneity or soul about it.
It has all the reliable components of Sayles' films: a strong social conscience; well-drawn characters whose lives overlap convincingly; a languid pace that allows for the honest unfolding of their foibles and fears; a vivid evocation of a place and time.
It's a solid history lesson that's less solid as a movie, simply because so much of the weight seems to be crammed into a too-fragile framework. As a film, Honeydripper is fine history put to less fine use.
Together with production designer Toby Corbett and costume designer Hope Hanafin, they get their visual cues from the narrative and the music, creating a rich, down-to-earth environment where violence and magic seem equally possible.
The film gets better as it goes along, and it closes with a rousing musical flourish, as immensely charismatic newcomer Clark Jr. finally hits the stage. At last, Sayles' sleepy drama wakes with a start.