Forty Shades of Blue (review)

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A gorgeously grim portrait of regrets and lost opportunities, Ira Sachs’s tender and heartbreaking drama is supremely subtle in how it emotionally flays its characters to lay bare their unspoken anguish, to the characters themselves as well as to the viewer. Legendary Memphis music producer Alan James (Rip Torn: Eulogy, perhaps his most sublime work ever) is in the twilight of his career, but he clings to the perks of his fame and fortune… such as his young Russian girlfriend, Laura (Dina Korzun, who was nominated for Best Female Lead at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards for the keen fragility of her performance), whose delicate disquiet comes to the fore when Alan’s estranged son Michael (Northern Exposure’s Darren Burrows) comes for a visit and forces her to reconsider what she has gained and what she has given up by throwing in her lot with Alan. The quiet naturalism of Sachs’s complicated film — which won the Grand Jury prize last year at Sundance — won’t be to everyone’s taste, but those who appreciate that profound passion can often be painful will find themselves deeply drawn into, even haunted by, the tricky triangle of these three wounded souls. Bonus features include director’s commentary, a making-of featurette, deleted and alternate scenes, and more.

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