8/10 Not to be confused with the famous “Frozen” earworm, “Let It Go”, “Let Him Go” is a cinematic breath of fresh air as lead actors Diane Lane and Kevin Costner reunite (“Man of Steel”) for a well-acted, beautifully scored, well paced, emotional journey. The plot is rather simple but well suited as the film jumps right in head first with a character death. The film wastes no time in grabbing your attention and establishing character’s motives and how far two grandparents will go to protect their grandchild after the death of their son. Lane and Costner give terrific performances as Costner is able to switch back and forth between the no nonsense straight talker and emotional outbursts and Lane maneuvers between her stubborn, “no one can change my mind once I set it to something” self and her emotional tenderness involving everything related to her grandchild. Supporting characters have much less screen time but Jeffrey Donovan and Lesley Manville make the most of their limited screen time with memorable performances. The reliable Michael Giacchino delivers a stirring, memorable score that perfectly fits the 1960’s North Dakota setting. Speaking of which, the production design and costume design, along with era specific props like vehicles and the oldies on the radio really transport you back in time. Writer/director Thomas Bezucha pays attention to the details and does a fine job of adapting Larry Watson’s novel on which the film is based. The film gets more intense the further along it goes, with some suspenseful and shocking moments near the film’s end. Bezucha shows restraint as a film maker and paces the film well with a slower burn in the first half and an emotional and jarring climax of an ending. As for the couple of minor, negative aspects, those mainly come down to relationships between characters. Since the film opens with their son’s death, it is harder to feel saddened by this loss since we don’t know much about the son’s character, outside of him having a wife and a newborn. A later scene involves Lane speaking to her former daughter-in-law, apologizing for not being a better mother to her, but we haven’t seen any of their prior relationship so it doesn’t mean all that much to us. Finally, a young Native American man comes across as a bit too convenient and willing to help in order to advance the plot. All of the complaints are minor but still exist and I would assume were more fleshed out in the novel. That being said, this is a great film and with such limited options in theaters these days (if the theaters close to you are even open), “Let Him Go” is a film you shouldn’t let go of but should instead seek out.
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