That Evening Sun - A Detailed Review of a Magnificent Movie

Abner Against the World
Abner Against the World

That Evening Sun

Although it seems a little trite in the beginning, and remains that way throughout the length of the movie, "That Evening Sun," is able to rise above the almost routine plot to deliver a story of reflection whose characters all prove to be important and more complex than they appear.

The Underachiever
The Underachiever

The Enemy

"That Evening Sun," follows an old man who escapes a retirement community to return to his farm. Unfortunately, his son has legal guardianship of Abner and has rented out his farm to a local redneck underachiever, Lonzo Choat, played by Ray McKinnon, who beats his family, gets drunk and lives off disability even though it is apparent he no longer needs to. Abner not only faces off with the younger and stronger Lonzo, but also must contend with his own son who insists that Abner must return to the retirement community.

The Real Enemy?
The Real Enemy?

Standing Your Ground

Hal Holbrook as Abner Meecham turns in a solid performance that teeters perilously close to being cliché but constantly rises above the expected with heartfelt statements that convince you completely that Abner is the definition of a real man with solid values who has earned everything he owns.

Walton Goggins plays Abner's son, Paul, who through unseen actions has proven himself to be a liar and manipulator. In the scenes we do see Paul in, it is a different story. Walton's performance is just as heartfelt as Hal's, if not more so. It is too bad that, "Evening Sun," couldn't have broken away from the overused plot line and focused on the tug-and-pull relationship between Abner and Paul.

What's Best

Paul comes across as a sincere, concerned and loving son who only wants what's best for his father who is aging and more often than not finds himself in life threatening situations beyond his control. The dialogue between father and son hints that Abner is a stubborn fool clinging to what he knows beyond common sense. But the movie intends to dispel that assumption as almost every action Abner takes is logical and makes sense according to how he sees the world.

Hush!
Hush!

The Dog is Important

Unfortunately, the clichés present in every man-against-the-world movie ever made, cannot be avoided completely and from the moment Abner gets a dog you can predict what's going to happen with that dog. But what Abner does after that happens will make you laugh and cause you to root even harder for the old man.

I'm Right

Although Abner's greatest nemesis is his son, the one he perceives as being the real threat is Lonzo, the father of the family that has taken up residence in Abner's old house. "That Evening Sun," really is about Abner's internal fight against the world, because he is nearly alone in his convictions. Even his simple minded neighbor, Thurl, played by Barry Corbin, who also wants to maintain his own independence, tries to discourage Abner every chance he gets.

Staying Independent
Staying Independent

Different Perspectives

The real magic of, "That Evening Sun," is in the characters themselves. It doesn't take long for you to relate to Abner and his struggle against crumbling values and people who want to control him and dictate how his worldly possessions are managed. We understand his actions are not those of a senile geriatric, but of someone who refuses to back down from challenges and troubles. Yet we also see a man who is elderly and unable to accept his limits. His son is a greedy capitalist who can't wait for his father's body to turn cold before he starts profiting from his future inheritance. At the same time, Paul is also a loving son who really does care about his father's welfare, even if he doesn't want to be bothered by the chore of taking care of Abner. In a defining moment, Paul tells Abner something he has obviously carried around his entire life, and it completely explains the distance between Paul and Abner, and the reason Paul is so callous.

Worlds Collide
Worlds Collide
Big Man
Big Man

Impact

Abner's enemy, Lonzo, is someone who is permanently doomed to repeat his mistakes even as he tries to be a man through immature displays of bravado to scare Abner off. Abner, being totally committed to his course and completely set in his opinions about people, is unable to see the minor positive changes and life struggles of Lonzo's family. Abner cannot see that he is having a positive impact on the Choat family but resolutely stays the course to get them out of his house.

Uncertain

The ending is not quite what you expect. Abner wins and loses his battle. "That Evening Sun, " is an involving and moving film worth seeing for the simple actions of its characters that reveal deeper motivations and will make you want to question who, in the end, is really right.

Where To?
Where To?

A Quick Survey

After reading this review, will you be watching "That Evening Sun" ?

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Comments 31 comments

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Excellent review, makes me want to see a film I would normally pass over. Well writtn too!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mark, Excellent review of a movie that looks like it will touch a nerve in me. The last I saw in a theater was "2 old Lions" a different note, as there was plenty of cash and in an era of peppering salesmen with shotguns.

Putting a bullet in a rabbit turd brain cracked me up. You've laid the ground work for me to go to town and set in a theater ot do the Netflix thing, I've been thinking about.

Kept my attention all the way, Peace my friend, dusty


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

I'll check it out.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great review and yes, I'll be watching this movie.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

YEP!, I have got it on my list.

Great review.

:)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for visiting everybody - I didn't expect this. Now I hope to God that you all enjoy the movie or you'll never trust me again.

Gypsy, thanks! Hope you like it too.

50 - I don't think it's in the theaters anymore. Yeah, I think you will relate to the theme of independence, but not age - you're not that old right? I've never seen 2 Old Lions, but I always hear good things about it, so THAT is on my list now. Glad you enjoyed the review.

Livelonger, hope you like it!

Willstar, thanks, let me know what you thihk.

CMerrit, thanks!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

We will expect you to refund our tickets if we don't like it!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Deal :-)


Rommergrot 5 years ago

My wife and I saw this movie sometime back. We really enjoyed it. A very good story and well written review.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mark, you need to see "Two old Lions" I think Duvall is in it and I don't remember who else but it is funny and sorry all at once. I give it a 8 out of ten. I don't know what that old is, but I'm getting my social security in July or August some days I'm old other days just a big old kid doing stupid stuff, 50


Tobia 5 years ago

Well done, Marc ! You really do need to write a book you know. I will have to plan to see this movie now that you've piqued my curiosity. By the way, the above mentioned movie " Two Old Lions" is actually "Secondhand Lions" which I happen to own. I can attest to it being an excellent movie ! You will thoroughly enjoy it, I'm sure!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mark, Tobia is quite correct, I own a few and that is one and I was big time wrong on the title, so yep I guess I'm getting that old, ha ha peace and thanx Tobia, Dusty


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Rommergrot, aha! A fellow fan. I wonder who else might have seen it. Seems kind of an unknown movie - it had a limited release in theaters unfortunately. Thanks!

50, I love Duvall in almost anything. He was also in "The Road," which I reviewed at Examiner.com. At first I didn't recognize him but I liked him, he somehow managed to play himself and get into the character and fool me until halfway through his performance! I promise to see Secondhand Lions - or whatever it's called ;-) By the way, are your elevens up? If not, you're not old then.

Tobia, thanks for coming by and the huge compliment. I will be producing books, but I still have some skills to learn, but in a few years... Hope you enjoy the movie, and I'll check out Secondhand Lions.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mark what is 11s? Nothing seems to get "up" around here ha ha?


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

It comes from a Mel Brooks movie, "life Stinks." Although not very well received, I absolutely loved this movie. Anyway, there's a group of homeless people in a soup kitchen and one of them comments about an old guy walking around the tables serving food or something:

Sailor: Pops ain't gonna be around long; his 'elevens' are up.

Goddard Bolt: What?

Sailor: His elevens! Look at the back of his neck. You see them two cords, stickin' out? They make, like, an 'eleven'. Once they're up that's it. He's a goner.

So sorry about your condition brother, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise??? I hope not!


Mr Tindle profile image

Mr Tindle 5 years ago

Alexander Mark,

Looks like an interesting flick. I'll try to check it out.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you for coming by Mr Tindle, hope you like it.


Utrecht11 5 years ago

Again a very well written review. Makes me want to see the movie.

It is going to be on my netflix list along with Scondhand Lion that Tobia mentioned.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks alot Utrecht11, hope you like it or you won't believe me anymore :-) I just bought Secondhand Lions, I'll give it to you when I'm done with it.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 5 years ago from Australia

Well you certainly tweeked my interest with your great review. You know when you get as old as me you will find that life is full of 'cliches' so we should not condemn a movie when it is only portraying life as it is! We all know a Lonzo and a Paul. (I have known a few in my time lol) and I sure can relate to Abner. I am putting this movie on my 'to see' list.

Rated up and Twittered :-)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much agvulpes. I like what you said about all of us knowing a Paul and a Lonzo. I didn't think about that, but it's true. Twittered? Oh man, I haven't twittered in a long time, but maybe I should be doing that too since I am trying to generate an online income. Thank you! Hope you enjoy it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for the excellent review. This is the kind of film I enjoy—the real human condition. I intend to see it soon. I hadn't heard of it until just now.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

You're welcome James, if this is up your alley, I think you will like it then. It has some amazing performances. I really would like to know what you think of it. Glad to be able to add a movie to your list.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I forgot to come back and tell you that I enjoyed "That Evening Sun" very much. A lot of my family came from (long ago) the very county in Tennessee where this was filmed!! I have been there many times. The movie was outstanding and I thank you for this recommendation. :D


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Aha! I was wondering what you would think of it - thanks so much for coming back here and letting me know - I had a feeling you would enjoy it - and you're welcome.

What a coincidence on your family origin. I think you are probably not related to the Choats. Seeing a place from your own history must have made the movie that much better. It is beautiful but hot!


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Sounds like a great story. I always like to know more about a film before I consider risking an investment in buying it.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hope you like it Silver.


stessily 4 years ago

AM, I haven't seen this movie nor have I heard of it. I love the way you presented and organized this review. I'm looking forward to the dog's performance! Hal Holbrook and Barry Corbin often get stereotyped, but dogs defy labels.

Kind regards, Stessily


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Unfortunately, the dog's role is limited in this film, but it sure provides an entertaining plot point!

I don't think I have seen either actor outside of this movie, but they both play their roles well. They are in my opinion "real" actors. I'm glad you liked the review, I hope the movie is even more enjoyable. Thanks Stessily!


stessily 4 years ago

AM, Yes, Hal Holbrook and Barry Corbin are both "real" actors even though they are sometimes stereotyped. From what I have seen in other films, they always bring depth to their roles. Hal Holbrook was famous on stage for playing Abraham Lincoln. He really displays a versatile range as an actor.

Again, thank you for acquainting me with this movie, which I hope to locate. It isn't available in the local libraries.

Kind regards, Stessily


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Your welcome your welcome :-) Hopefully you can rent it? If your internet connection is fast enough, you can "rent" it online probably pretty cheap. But I know it's annoying to watch an entire movie on the computer.

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