Come Early Morning

It's only been two years since Ashley Judd appeared in film, but it feels like it's been longer.  Judd (De-Lovely, Twisted) was famous for playing either strong female protagonists, women in jeopardy, or both.  It got to the point where her films were a bit ludicrous, and her roles overshadowed the fact that she can be an extremely powerful actor.  Judd does a u-turn as Lucy Fowler in Come Early Morning, playing a weak, broken, depressed, lonely woman who lives mostly out of a beer bottle.  By playing somebody so different than her usual role, it just shows how good Judd can be when she wants to.

Fowler is a walking train wreck, and one cringes at the things she says and does.  Fowler does a reasonably good job at work, but her extracurricular activities leave much to be desired.  She often goes to the bar, gets drunk, and goes home with whomever she became drunk with.  In the morning, she awakens and leaves, ashamed of her actions.  She's rude and acerbic to most people, but it's all a ruse.  Inside, Fowler is extremely lonely and hates herself.  She drinks to escape, and uses the one-night stands as an easy way to get some quick emotional intimacy, not realizing that her actions make her feel worse.

This is also the writing/directing debut for actor Joey Lauren Adams.  It is an impressive debut, showing a promising new outlet for Adams, who hasn't really done much as an actor.  Everything in Come Early Morning is steeped in mood, and the movie relies more on what isn't said that what is said.  This is a simple, straightforward film that is unfortunately not the sum of its parts.  While Judd does a fantastic job, the plot is predictable and a bit mundane.  Fowler meets and sleeps with Cal Percell (Jeffrey Donovan, Hitch, Blair Witch 2).  Unlike other men, Percell still wants to see Fowler.  He is persistent, and begins to wear away the wall she built around her.  Still although she finds truly likes Percell, her instinct to flee constantly kicks into gear, complicating the relationship dynamic.

In addition to her issues with Fowler, Adams piles on the emotional travails for Fowler.  She is trying to reconcile with an emotionally distant (and also alcoholic) father.  The rest of her family is equally dysfunctional.  However, all these characters seem less authentic and more a ploy by Adams to generate viewer sympathy for Fowler.  Things move extremely slowly, and there isn't much else going on in the story.  This is one of those films where one can admire the performance of the lead, but forget pretty much everything else.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated for R for language and some sexual situations.

Back to Movies