Robert Duvall is without doubt one of the great American actors alive and the real reason to see the nice little movie Get Low. Set in 1930s Tennessee, it tells the true story of a hermit named Felix Bush who decided to throw himself a funeral party while he was still alive. Having spent 40 years living out in the woods in a cabin, he is a grown-old Boo Radley, the decent eccentric that the town has been making up dangerous stories about for all these years, that the children have feared for generations, but just have to go bother to prove they’re tough.

Early on a friend dies and it gets him thinking about death. So he goes to the local funeral home and lays out what he wants. He is a man of few words but tells them it is time to “get low” as in 6 feet under. Only he wants a funeral party, and having been the hermit, thus lacking a big group of friends to invite, he wants all the town folk who have been making up tales about him for decades to come and tell their stories about him. The funeral director is played by Bill Murray with a wonderful understated comedic sense. But it is his young assistant Buddy played by Lucas Black who shines. He warms to the odd-ball early on and is determined to help him get what he wants.

And what he wants turns out to be redemption for something that happened 40 years ago and sent him into his hermit prison. Sissy Spacek plays an old (girl)friend who just happens to come back into his life and is key to that redemption. I won’t spoil it for you laying out the whole back story, but he’s been carrying a huge weight for a long time. Ultimately, Get Low is a simple tale and the ending is not entirely satisfying, but it is worth seeing for the performances, and the cinematography, which captures the time and place perfectly. It isn’t a comedy, nor is it a a drama. It is a bittersweet film with Duvall is at the top of his game.

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