LET HIM GO (2020)
Diane Lane shines in this faithful adaptation of the popular novel Let Him Go, though the film ultimately succumbs to uneven pacing and questionable motives of the characters that hinder the otherwise solid production.
In Let Him Go, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner play a married couple who, after the death of their son, see their grandson abruptly moved to a different state when their widowed daughter-in-law remarries, becoming part of the tight nit Weboy family. Concerned about the new husband’s physical abuse, Lane and Costner’s characters set out to bring the boy and his mother back home. Let Him Go has a ton of heart at the core of the story and excellent performances from all involved. Where I had the most trouble with the film was actually in the meat of the story and the “why” of this family fighting so hard to keep the child with them. As the film rolls on, the violence ratchets up as the Weboys intimidate, threaten, and even maim Lane and Costner’s characters. As the themes of love and loss are woven throughout the dialogue and actions of the characters, there seems to be an underdevelopment of the antagonist that results in the absence of understanding where they are coming from. Having not read the novel, I cannot say if this is consistent from page to screen, but it seems like a vital omission nonetheless.
One thing that cannot be denied is the absolute beautiful cinematography throughout Let Him Go, elevated by the serene midwestern landscapes that serve as the setting for the film. It is upon this backdrop that Lane and Costner put in the expected top-notch work, playing with fantastic chemistry, and are joined by Lesley Manville’s maniacal matriarchal character and Jeffrey Donovan’s bad-boy turn. It all leads to a deeply moving dive into the pain that we experience and the grief that we hold after sudden loss, not to mention the pitting of two mothers against one another who will stop at nothing to protect their families.
Though flawed, Let Him Go is a fine film worthy of your time. Catch it in theaters this Friday.
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