Face the Music | 2018 | 127 minutes
SIFF Says:Blaze Foley was one of those raw musical talents that absolutely refused stardom and reveled in obscurity. Ethan Hawke’s biopic BLAZE, based on Foley’s former wife and accomplished playwright Sybil Rosen’s memoir, is a touching ode to the tragically mysterious country-blues artist stretching from their west Georgia forest dwelling days to his untimely death by gunshot in Austin, TX. The two meet working in a hippie-style church commune in the mid-’70s, and they’re an unlikely couple at first sight: He’s a big, oafish country boy with a polio limp, and she (Alia Shawkat, “Arrested Development,” WHIP IT) is a young no-nonsense Jewish girl rebelling from her parents’ conservative way of living. The story bleeds old country-style counter-culture as the two fall fast in love, moving to wall-less treehouse out in the woods with nothing but each other’s company. Eventually, they hitchhike to Austin for a failed attempt at jumpstarting his music career. He rarely sings sober, his drunken stupor dashing any showbiz opportunities that fall his way; this eventually erodes his marriage and sends him back crooning at roadside dive bars, a setting he prefers. Singer/songwriter Ben Dickey plays Foley with vocal conviction, portraying a man whose voice wasn’t always pretty, but his soul was always honest as he remembered better days.
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