During my recent mini hiatus, I was thinking about what movie to choose for the long-awaited Blog Follower Dedication Review. While I do have several movies on my DVR, I wanted to choose one that was different from those I have recently reviewed. So, when I saw the 2020 title, Let Him Go, I knew it was the right choice. Like I have stated in the past, the western genre is one that isn’t often covered on my blog. In fact, the last western film I wrote about was the 1999 Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Durango. With this current review, it’ll provide more content related to this specific genre. What makes Let Him Go unique from the other westerns I’ve talked about is how the story takes places later in the 20th century, as the story is set in the early ‘60s. Since I haven’t seen many “modern” westerns, I was curious to see how this type of story would be presented in a different lens. So, without further ado, let’s get this Blog Follower Dedication Review started!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: While the cast of Let Him Go was strong, there were two actors who gave stand-out performances. The first one came from Lesley Manville. Portraying the Weboy family matriarch, Blanche, her character reminded me of the mob bosses from gangster movies of yesteryear. Lesley carried her character with her own distinct style and personality, which is reminiscent of the aforementioned mob bosses I brought up. Blanche’s attitude escalates over the course of the movie, becoming viler and more brutal. Even though I wasn’t a fan of Blanche, Lesley’s performance stole the show! The second performance was Booboo Stewart’s! His character, Peter, was my favorite in this film. Booboo’s portrayal consistently appeared genuine, which showed the strength of his acting abilities and the screenwriting. Peter’s presence also brought a sense of peace that was rarely found in this story. I, honestly, wish he was given more appearances in the movie.
The scenery: This movie takes place in Montana and North Dakota. But it was actually filmed in Alberta, Canada. No matter where Let Him Go was filmed, the scenery was beautiful to look at! At the beginning of George and Margaret’s road trip, large mountains dominated the background. That piece of earth was so majestic, I would guess photos and videos do not do those mountains justice. Surrounding these mountains were clear blue skies and grassy hills. All the natural elements came together to create a landscape that brought a sense of peace. I just wish more scenes had taken place outdoors.
The topics discussed: Like I mentioned in the introduction, Let Him Go is set in the early ‘60s. What should also be noted is how two of the film’s overarching topics are child abuse and domestic violence. Even though these subjects are met with a sense of urgency and seriousness today, it was interesting to see how they were viewed over fifty years ago. The attitude surrounding these topics, in the film, carried an “it’s none of my business” energy. This brought a sense of historical realism to the overall story. In Let Him Go, Peter says he was sent to an “Indian school” when he was younger, referring to the residential schools where Native American children were forced to attend. When it comes to entertainment media, these types of educational institutions are not often brought up. So, even though this particular subject was briefly brought up, it was an interesting to see the movie’s creative team include that topic at all.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A misleading trailer: Before watching Let Him Go, I saw its respective trailer, in an effort to determine if the film was worth seeing. In that trailer, the movie came across as an intense thriller. But when I actually saw the film, it was mostly a drama with thrilling elements. This reminds me of when I saw the 2015 movie, Forsaken. Because of the talent involved and the story’s western genre label, I expected more action in that movie. Instead, the script emphasized the drama in the protagonist’s life. Similarly, most of the action in Let Him Go took place during the climax. The story also revolved around the drama among the Blackledge family. With all that said, I found this film’s trailer misleading.
An unclear time period: As I’ve already said, the story is set in the early ‘60s. In fact, the majority of the film takes place in 1963. However, everything looked and felt like it came straight from the ‘50s. From the Blackledge’s kitchen to the cars in their Montana town, the set design and costumes appeared authentic for that period in time. Toward the beginning of the movie, I wasn’t sure if the story was set in the ‘50s or if the Blackledge family just liked a vintage style. When I saw a headstone bearing the death date of 1961, the time placement of the story became clear to me. The 1960s has a very distinct aesthetic, so I was disappointed it was absent from this film.
The Weboy brothers’ lack of distinctiveness: When the Weboy family is first introduced, the audience meets Blanche and her sons. Before this happens, one of the sons, Donnie, marries the Blackledge’s daughter-in-law, Lorna. Because of that event, Donnie is a memorable character. But his brothers appeared and acted very similar to one another. It got to the point where I had difficulty telling these characters apart. Not only is the screenwriting to blame for this, but I think there shouldn’t have been that many members of the Weboy family.
My overall impression:
It feels good writing posts after taking some time away from my blog! I honestly did not mean for the hiatus to last two weeks. But I was working on some projects that weren’t blog related. Since I came back at the beginning of December, I can’t wait to check out some seasonal flicks! Now, back to this Blog Follower Dedication Review. Personally, I thought it was just ok. While I am glad I checked out another western, it wasn’t the product advertised. Plus, the film didn’t look or feel like the ‘60s. Despite these major flaws, there are aspects of the movie I did like. The topics discussed in the story provided historical realism, allowing the audience to glimpse how they were viewed back then. I also thought the acting was strong. As I wrap up this review, I want to take the time to thank all of my blog’s followers. Looking back on these three years, I still can’t believe how far I’ve come as a blogger.
Overall score: 6.5 out of 10
Have you seen any westerns lately? If so, would it be worth recommending? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun in the movies!