Bloodworth Movie Review: Hilary Duff Does Deep South Seductress

With the endless procession of bad mommy movies, it’s refreshing for a change to see Dad get the blame. Especially with such a likable designated villain in Bloodworth that’s so hard to hate, as long celebrated sentimental strummer, Kris Kristofferson.

Kristofferson is E.F. Bloodworth in this dark family drama, a rural Tennessee bad boy balladeer who skipped out on his three small sons and long suffering wife Julia (Frances Conroy) years ago. And now Julia is stricken with dementia and the grown boys are all troubled in multiple ways. Brady (screenwriter W. Earl Brown) never left home and has assumed the patriarch role of the family since E.F. took off, Warren (Val Kilmer) is the local degenerate who has likely sampled every woman and girl in sight, and Boyd (Dwight Yoakam) is seriously gunning for his estranged wife over in Nashville.

At the same time, Boyd’s son Fleming (Reece Thompson) is scorned by his dad for playing with girl toys like a typewriter, as he secretly yearns to be a writer. Though his attention does wander to other preoccupations when the very fetching rural hottie Raven (Hilary Duff) catches his eye. Even if lusty rival Warren and Raven’s protective hooker mom, may have far different opinions on that matter.

And in the midst of all this wilderness mayhem, E.F. saunters back into their lives, but is promptly banished to a delapidated trailer down by the river. And with a disgruntled cattle dealer that he ripped off with false promises not far behind in pursuit, and bent on revenge.

Directed by Shane Dax Taylor and adapted from the novel Provinces Of The Night by William Gay, Bloodworth is noted for solid homespun ensemble performances that carry the weight of this thin, predictable tale. And that would have benefited from more character depth and fewer plot points.

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Rated R

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.