Come Early Morning
What’s your race car champion husband have that I don’t, Ashley? You’re right … never mind.


Golden Mug

NOMINEE:
Actress (Ashley Judd)

Theatrical Release Date: 11/10/2006
Director: Joey Lauren Adams
Cast: Ashley Judd, Jeffrey Donovan, Laura Prepon, Scott Wilson

Like “All the Real Girls”, another similarly somber and thoughtful film, “Come Early Morning” is set in a small Southern town, the kind that most people pass by on the Interstate while they’re headed somewhere else.

Ashley Judd plays a woman so psychologically broken that the only connection she’s able to make with men is a night of drunken sex followed by an awkward early morning departure (hence the title).

She clearly has issues with her father (who was unable to remain faithful to his wife and has a bit of a drinking dependency of his own) and is unable/unwilling to trust anyone else to be close enough to leave any lasting impressions.

Written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams, the film takes its time with Judd’s character – allowing the camera to linger on her as the audience watches her wrestle with personal demons and allowing her to slowly peel away the layers of defense she’s wrapped herself up in like a blanket.

Judd’s performance is powerful and sincere. The immense sorrow and anger all bubbling just below the surface are as easy to read as a highway billboard.

Trying to break through the formidable emotional walls she has built is a newcomer to the town, played by Jeffrey Donovan. What’s nice about his character is that he isn’t a saint or a knight in shining armor racing into the fray to save the damsel in distress.

He’s a good guy but prone to the same insecure, jealous and misogynistic characteristics that 99% of all men exhibit. The film isn’t really about the two of them though; it’s about Judd finding a way to take control of her life and begin to drag herself out of the depths of self-loathing that she wallows in every day.

To that end, “Come Early Morning” is a great success, painting a portrait of this damaged individual trying to stay afloat in her life.

The actors all give good performances, especially Judd and Scott Wilson as her father. They’re dynamic is one of the primary factors in Judd’s inability to be emotionally intimate with anyone.

Their scenes together have a quiet rage to them and even as Judd learns to release some of her frustration, you see that there is still so much farther to go before any real closure can be gained.

All of you who like cookie-cutter endings and everything wrapped up in a neat, little bow probably should skip this film. It’s a deeply introspective film and I especially appreciate that the audience is allowed to decide where the characters will end up after the credits roll across the screen.

Easily a 4 out of 5, “Come Early Morning” is a look in the mirror and I suggest you be okay with that ahead of time.