Two women, one piano.
Set in a dreary prison, this transcendent tale pits a tightly-wound taskmaster against a convicted murder with serious anger issues.
Making an auspicious debut, Hannah Herzsprung blisters as the battered prisoner, a woman whose tentative connection with her teacher is built on a mutual loathing of everyone else.
I dig the film’s refusal to slip into a maudlin story of a “bad” girl changed by the power of music, and an uptight teacher mellowing.
Two hours aren’t enough time for all wounds to heal, and there are no fake happy endings.
But there is hope.
“I like them French-fried pertaters.”
I’m teaching my nephews it’s always amusing if they sidle up behind their mom when she’s cooking, drop their voice down low, then imitate Karl Childers ordering fries.
Well, it’s amusing to me, at least.
When they’re older, they can see where that dialogue sprang from. For now, they just need the words.
The film remains today as it did in ’96 — a beautifully-crafted gothic tale of redemption anchored by a career-making performance from Billy Bob Thornton.
It’s more, much more, than the French fry scene.
But that is a pretty dang good scene. Just sayin’.