By Erik Davis -- reprint from 1/19/08 -- Sundance Film Festival
I'm starting to dislike films that sell themselves with the tagline: "Love is where you least expect it." Isn't it about time we retire that line? Yellow Handkerchief arrives as yet another indie road flick featuring characters very different from one another on the outside, but similar on the inside. It's pretty to watch (thanks to great camerawork from Chris Menges), but the film never really soars above "That was a nice moment," and into must-see territory. However, superb performances from the four leads lend Handkerchief enough charm to leave those watching with a smile ... and an odd desire to visit Louisiana.
William Hurt stars as an ex-con named Brett, who, after six years in prison, stumbles back out into the world with a sense of purpose. Soon after his release, Brett winds up hitching a ride with Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), a kind-of-slow outcast heading down to New Orleans. Joining the men, after watching last night's fling hook up with another girl, is Martine (Kristen Stewart) -- a fidgety gal with massive father figure issues. Because of her sour relationship with Pops, Martine desperately attempts to latch onto men who show the slightest interest, and when Gordy fires up a conversation with her, it's enough for Martine to forget about the last guy and jump into a convertible with the next one. Thus, our three strangers head out for a ride to escape their problems -- and jaded pasts -- but ultimately wind up banding together to confront the purple elephant in the corner and wash away their damaged souls.