The Acquired Taste
Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) is an independent minded pioneer woman who doesn't back down from trouble. It is how she comes to be escorting three women across country to a church as unlike her these women haven't been able to cope with life in the west and have become crazy. Accompanying her on the journey is George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) a drifter who cares little other than getting paid for the job.
Whilst I like Tommy Lee Jones as an actor I can't say that I have the same feeling when it comes to his work as a director. Now in fairness before watching "The Homesman" the only other movie which I have watched of his as a director is "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" and to be honest what I said about that movie is true of this one as "The Homesman" didn't entertain me as much as it has others and I found it often hard work. But at the same time it is the sort of movie which if you stick with it does start to come together.
The trouble is that the first half of "The Homesman" seems to be all about Tommy Lee Jones the artist as we get lots of scenes which have a clear artistic side to them from the sun setting behind a wagon to a man sitting in front of his home, a home in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by flat land. And there is no denying that Jones as well as his cinematographer has an eye for a beautiful shot but it does make the movie meander along, not really going anywhere other than to another beautiful shot.
But then it almost feels like there comes a point where Jones' love of a beautiful shot is given way to the storyline and that is where if you stay with it "The Homesman" starts to come good as a series of events gives the movie the drama it was lacking and the character development it sorely needed during the firs half. But whilst for me this second half comes close to delivering the kind of entertainment I prefer it still ends up a bit of a slog, meandering along and at times seems to drift off.
What this all boils down to is that "The Homesman" is not going to be for everyone and backs up my feeling that as a director Tommy Lee Jones is definitely an acquired taste.