“Dear Ruth, I dreamt about you again last night” Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

aint_them_bodies_saintsAin’t Them Bodies Saints debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year and was nominated for an award at Cannes. It isn’t hard to see why it was critically acclaimed over the summer as the cinematography and story telling is something quite out of the ordinary in today’s cinema releases. To be perfectly honest though I was unaware of this before I went into the cinema, I hadn’t seen the trailer or heard any reviews. Going in blind to see Ain’t Them Bodies Saints came as quite a shock and its a good job I was already in a subdued mood.

The film follows Bob, an escaped prisoner in Texas who travels over the country to reunite with his wife Ruth, and their daughter Sylvie who he has never met. The story is quite vague, it begins with the incident that leads to Bob’s incarceration, and through his prison sentence and Sylvie’s birth quite quickly without much background to these characters. They are obviously devoted to each other though and how David Lowery (writer and director) managed to convey this love is quite beautiful for such a short time that the two characters are actually together on screen. None of the characters in fact are entitled to any kind of history, everything that happens, bar the first 5 minutes or so, is present. Though at the time I couldn’t tell you what era this film is based. I am going to guess the 60’s due to the vehicles alone but it could be set in any era, and felt old worldly.

Aint them bodies saints

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara take the lead roles, both giving excellent performances – especially Affleck who I took to straight away and gave an honest humble performance which was almost flawless. Ben Foster plays the towns Sheriff, playing a different role to his usual which came as a surprise – I did find his character slightly disappointing though, only because I know what Foster is capable of. None the less his usual manic flair wouldn’t have fit with the story line and he still brings his A game to the role. Keith Carradine is also worth a mention as Skerritt who has a brilliant authoritative presence, seemingly Ruth and Bob’s guardian when they were children but his role is never fully explained.

aint-them-bodies-saints-still-3

There are many parts of the story that remain unexplained, I can’t decide if this added to the over all experience or if I was left deflated because there were so many unanswered questions. It was as if they would introduce a new twist and then leave it hanging without wrapping it up. Hard to explain succinctly without giving away any spoilers but I know I was asking a lot of questions when I came out of the cinema.

Aint them bodies saints3After bombarding each other with said questions on the way to the car, my friend and I sat in silence for the rest of the journey – this film made us pretty depressed. Or should I say pensive, or melancholy to be more poetic. Because that’s what Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is, it is a poetic love story beautifully shot and effortlessly acted. It does take quite a while to get into but I didn’t mind this aspect of the plinky plonky daily business, as long as you don’t expect anything to happen for a good hour or so you wont be disappointed.

My POV – a relaxing film harking back to the old Hollywood era, definitely worth a watch if you enjoy slow paced, visually stunning love stories that aren’t particularly romantic after all.

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6 thoughts on ““Dear Ruth, I dreamt about you again last night” Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

  1. CMrok93 September 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Good review. Such a beauty of a film, yet, there’s so much more to it than just pretty colors and land-scapes, and that’s what really made this flick work well for me.

    • myreelpov September 11, 2013 at 7:48 am Reply

      Yes it was a well told story, despite the gaps and questions – I am still in two minds if this added to it or felt lazy… I’m leaning towards the fact that it made it better.

  2. […] quite slowly in the 2 and a half hours it drags on for, and not in the beautiful arty way that Aint Them Bodies Saints plodded along – more like there could have been a lot more scenes on the cutting room floor. […]

  3. vinnieh October 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm Reply

    Excellent post, I may have to check this one out when I get the time.

  4. My Reel POV’s Top 10 of 2013. | MyReelPOV January 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm Reply

    […] Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Elysium, Aint Them Bodies Saints, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thor: The Dark World, GI Joe: Retaliation, Captain Phillips, […]

  5. […] seen Christian Bale’s top performance in American Hustle, and loving Cassey Affleck from Ain’t Them Bodies Saints last year. I wasn’t quite prepared for what I witnessed though, especially as the plan was to […]

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