April 16, 2010
Director: Bette Gordon
MPAA Rating: R (for language and some sexual content)
Screenwriter: Nicholas T. Proferes
Starring: Campbell Scott, Steve Buscemi, Karen Young, Aidan Quinn, John Savage, Jamey Sheridan, Mariann Mayberry, Titus Welliver
Copyright Holder: N/A
Official website: HandsomeHarrythemovie.com
"Handsome Harry" is the latest film by Bette Gordon, whose 1983 feature, "Variety," remains a signal work of the early American "indie" movement. Heading an impressive ensemble cast, Jamey Sheridan ("The Ice Storm," "Syriana") portrays the title role - a divorced man, alienated from his grown son, whose life is defined by a number of casual relationships but no intimate ones. A loner by choice, Harry is forced out of self-imposed exile when he is summoned to the deathbed of Tom Kelly (Steve Buscemi), an old Navy pal with one last wish: he wants Harry to seek out another old friend, Dave Kagan (Campbell Scott), and ask his forgiveness for some horrible wrong that Tom, Harry, and their other close friends committed when they were all still in the military. These men were once like Harry's family, and Kagan was much more than that, but Harry has avoided them most of his adult life. Traveling thousands of miles--and across three decades of suppressed memories and emotions--Harry must now face each of his old buddies, and must ultimately find the courage to face Dave Kagan. Until he does, he will never be able to face himself. Though it takes the form of a classic road movie, the true terrain covered by "Handsome Harry" is the male psyche. In a series of carefully observed, beautifully acted vignettes, the film explores what brought these men together, what drove them apart, how they betrayed one another and, worse still, how they betrayed themselves. Gordon, whose emotionally wrenching climax reveals the enormous gulf between who Harry might have been and who he eventually became, proves that, sometimes, it takes a woman to show us what it takes to be a man.