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Film Review: “Let Him Go” (2020)

Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in Let Him Go. Photo: Kimberley French/Focus Features

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is no doubt that DNA plays a significant role in shaping the character of a person, while proper nurturing is like organic food – it has a positive impact on building up an important foundation in a child to be a better person in the future. While all of this might be arguable since one’s environment and friends made along the way play a significant role too, it all comes down to a parent and his or her way of leading as an example in a good or bad way.

“Let Him Go” offers two sides of motherhood, marriage, violence and anti-violence as well as domestic abuse in a stark way. Lorna (Kayli Carter) was happily married, living in a Montana ranch with her in-laws (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) when a tragedy takes away her happiness as her husband dies after falling off a horse. A year later, as she rebuilds her confidence in herself and attempts to build a new family, she remarries a young man named Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain) not realizing that there is horror awaiting for her a minute after saying ‘I do.’

When Lorna leaves her old home, she obviously takes her son with her. His grandparents hope to see Jimmy once a week, at least. While in town, Margaret witnesses how Donnie abuses Lorna while little Jimmy stands in horror and tries to protect himself from another hit coming from Donnie. Margaret tells that to George, her husband and a retired Sheriff about what she just encountered. But when they go to Lorna’s home, to their shocking surprise, they had moved out. From that moment on, everything turns upside down as the desperate grandparents embark themselves on a dangerous journey where they find themselves in the rural places of Dakota, and even worse, Donnie’s relatives led by his vicious mother, Blanche (Lesley Manville).

Based on Larry Watson’s novel with the same title, and produced, written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, the film serves another reminder of what happens when domestic violence remains unchecked. Also, as we watch a dreadful and heartless Blanche, or her Weboy family full of monstrous creatures, we see Margaret, George, and their loving son, who are extremely caring, loving end even giving. As they try to take their grandson under their wing, one thing I couldn’t force myself to agree with is their ability to forget about Lorna or their choice of leaving her without her own child. Of course, Margaret and George have all the rights to care and worry for their grandson. You would be too, see in what conditions he lived in. But that was not because of his mother, who is as big a victim as little Jimmy. And if he must be rescued, so does his mother.

Overall, “Let Him Go” offers a joyful ride into the modern Western Cinema, with the abovementioned flow but that is minor in comparison to the way the story begins to develop. For instance, it’s such fun to watch Leslie Manville as a matriarch of the family. She, perhaps, is the worse version of any woman altogether and the actor does such a fine job to paint an ugly image of her character, who well deserves it.

As for the storyline, there are important elements in it, as I mentioned earlier, which is very interesting to follow. Its slow start redeems itself with the highly paced direction that literally takes off without slowing down. What to take away from it, you may ask. Stories like the one told in “Let Him Go” happens all over the world. Sadly, in most cases, they do not end well. It does not in this featured film too. But for that, you have to see to find out what does it really mean to the characters you care about and those you would not even mind at all.

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