I've said it before and I've said it again: as soon as you get past Kristen Stewart's involvement in Twilight, her choice in projects is excellent. The Yellow Handkerchief, a drama which also stars William Hurt, Maria Bello and Eddie Redmayne, is yet another one of Stewart's criminally overlooked films, a well made, superbly acted story few have seen.
The Yellow Handkerchief follows Brett Hanson (Hurt), who has just been released from prison. Intent on making his way south to reunite with his ex-wife (Bello), he befriends two young travelers - Martine (Stewart), a girl looking for acceptance, and the socially awkward Gordy (Redmayne) - who are trying to find their place in the world.
The movie is a somber, drifting drama that takes full advantage of the actors' capabilities. Hurt is excellent, at once sorrowful and emotionally distant. He carries the film, providing wisdom to his young companions even though he can't follow his own advice.
Stewart is also great, finely balancing her character's innocence, sexiness, toughness and fragility. As evidenced through Adventureland, Into the Wild, Welcome to the Rileys and a few other films, she's at her best when playing small-town girls.
Redmayne also does a good job, though his character is the least likable of the bunch. Strange, seemingly mentally disabled but never directly addressed, it's hard to understand what Martine sees in him. Their budding relationship doesn't feel forced, but it's not one that makes much sense.
The Yellow Handkerchief is not without its flaws, but it's a mesmerizing little drama that showcases the best of its actors. Highly recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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