Starring: Billy Crudup, Samantha Morton
Director: Alison Maclean
JESUS’ Son tells a very bleak tale for most of its duration.
Set in the drug subculture of the US in the 1970s, FH (Billy Crudup) is a substance abuser. He lacks self-esteem, friends, family and employment. He is completely passive in regard to where his life is going. All he cares about is where he can find drugs.
This depressing story is told in tragic detail for over 60 minutes in the film.
For all the hopelessness of his existence (it is, initially, hardly a
life), we also see that FH is, as well, an attractive, humorous and good
person. The real hope in his life is Michelle (Samantha Morton), with whom he falls in love.
She is also a drug addict. They are not good for each other, but her death is the turning point for FH’s life. It is what FH calls, “like an Easter thing”.
It is worth persevering past the desolation of FH’s world to the second half of the film. Here FH begins to piece his life back together. Various people enter his life in the most commonplace ways and each teach him something about how to reclaim his dignity and focus.
Each of these events is so keenly observed that it makes this film arresting and real. Billy Crudup’s performance is outstanding as the aimless FH.
Alison Maclean’s direction is assured and she underscores the mood of the work so well that Jesus’ Son ends up a deeply moving experience.
Jesus’ Son took out the International Catholic Cinema Organisation Prize at the Venice Film Festival.