[Marxism] Ashley Judd in "Come Early Morning"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 11 09:44:31 MST 2006

Mechanical Marxism prioritizes class over race, gender, ethnicity and
other social cleavages. It always struck me that Trotsky was a little
bit off when he wrote about the need to subordinate nature to man.

For example:
"The need to know nature is imposed upon men by their need to 
subordinate nature to themselves."

Exploring the more complex layerings which divide human society is
necessary to develop a fuller, more nuanced understanding of our world
if we ever hope to be able to change it, including a closer appreciation of
human psychology.

Whatever difficulties we've had with our parents when we were kids,
we learn in time to acknowledge, and to honor, some of the traits we
picked up from them as we get older. My father's anti-racism was a
deep and abiding presence, probably rooted in his experience as a
holocaust survivor. He and his parents luckily escaped Nazi Germany
and lived in Cuba for three years until they could come to the U.S.
My mother was an intellectual with a certain artistic bent. Those were
their good sides. 

More challenging, more troubling, I think, are the ways in which we
also incorporate the more problemmatic, troubling character traits
which come from our parents. In this movie, in which Ashley Judd
seems to channel the same character she played in her first role,
the wonderful 1993 RUBY IN PARADISE, we see see such a very
troubling scenario played out, and played to a deeply resonant 
turn. The movie packs a wallop and anyone who's experienced 
such generational incorporations can appreciate what's portrayed.

As the movie evolves, we see the dawning of a self-awareness in
Judd's character which can be the key to a resolution of the sharp
contradictions which shaped her in childhood and adulthood. And
particularly pleasing is the fact that the resolution isn't the neat and
clean Hollywood ending one might wish for emotionally, but it is one
which seems a lot more true to real life. There are a few elements
in the plot which seem artificial and superfluous. Whatever.

This is one of the many reasons I love living in Los Angeles where
it's possible to see a movie the day it opens, projected professionally
on the big screen. Ah, Tinseltown. 

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California


'Come Early Morning'
Portrait of a woman forlorn.
By Lael Loewenstein
Special to The Times

November 10, 2006

"Come Early Morning," the feature writing and directing debut of
actress Joey Lauren Adams, falls prey to bits of psychoanalytic
shorthand and narrative predictability, but it offers the rare, meaty
role for an actress in her late 30s.

Ashley Judd plays Southerner Lucy Fowler, a woman grappling with 
her fear of intimacy and some unwieldy emotional baggage, as short 
on self-esteem as she is long on drunken one-night stands. 
A truck-driving contractor by day who fancies herself as one of the
boys, Lucy makes a habit of going home with a different guy every
night, only to slip away in self-disgust at dawn. Abandoned by her
emotionally distant father and bruised by her parents' divorce, 
Lucy is a walking billboard for denial, insisting to her roommate Kim
(Laura Prepon) that she is just fine, thank you.

Enter Cal Percell (Jeffrey Donovan), a kindhearted outsider who falls
for Lucy. Deeply attracted to Cal but as wild as a stallion, Lucy
struggles with her conflicting impulses, eventually embarking on 
a painful course of self-examination. She adopts a stray dog,
accompanies her estranged father to church and begins to lower her

Avowedly mining bits of her own Arkansas background for inspiration,
Adams has crafted a fully realized portrait of a woman in transition.
Her dialogue feels sharp and authentic, its rhythm and cadence
faintly echoing Kevin Smith, who directed Adams in her best-known
film, 1997's "Chasing Amy." Like "Amy" it raises salient questions
about gender roles and female promiscuity.)

Adams, frustrated over the dearth of good female roles, originally
wrote the film as an acting vehicle for herself. Having opted to
direct instead, she found a fitting actress in Judd. It's a part that
calls to mind Judd's screen debut as another woman searching for her
identity in 1993's "Ruby in Paradise." The supporting players are
equally strong, especially Tim Blake Nelson as Lucy's uncle and Diane
Ladd as her stoic grandmother.

Cinematographer Tim Orr has shot the North Little Rock locations with
such attention to detail and texture that it's a shame Adams couldn't
have resisted the temptation for cheap and easy metaphors, like the
wounded stray Lucy takes in (after having been hurt herself in a bar
fight). To its credit, the film doesn't end as tidily as it might
have, implying instead that Lucy's journey toward self-discovery will
be ongoing.


'Come Early Morning'

MPAA rating: R for language and some sexual situations

A Roadside Attractions release. Writer-director Joey Lauren Adams.
Producers Julie Yorn, Holly Wiersma. Cinematographer Tim Orr. Editor
Meg Reticker. Music Alan Brewer. Production design Max Biscoe.
Costume design Lee Hunsaker. Running time 1 hour, 37 minutes.

At selected theaters.

More information about the Marxism mailing list