Get Low is a comedy, a drama, and a tale of redemption and love.
Every now and then, I happen upon a movie gem that is truly unforgettable. Get Low is one of those movies. I first heard about it on my friend Joan Borysenko’s Facebook page. While she was enduring the fire all around her house on Gold Hill in Boulder, she went to see this movie and it gave her some relief. I had to see it. Get Low, with the amazing Robert Duvall, and also Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray, is the story of a Tennessee hermit who has lived alone in his cabin in the woods for 40 years and decides to come out in the open so he can plan a most unusual funeral.
The movie begins with the scene of a house ablaze with fire. A man sails out of the upstairs window, landing on the front lawn. It’s nighttime. He clothing is on fire. He runs away. The next scene shows Felix (Robert Duvall) scaring away some kid on his porch who has obviously been dared by his friends to get near the strange and dangerous old man. Clearly Felix is no ordinary man. Soon after scaring the boy nearly to death with his demeanor and shotgun, Felix harnesses up his mule to his wagon and drives into town. He visits the local preacher, asking for a funeral. But not a funeral after he’s dead—a funeral for himself while he’s still living. He wants everyone to come and tell stories about him while he can still hear them. The preacher won’t do it. But an enterprising undertaker (played by Bill Murray) hears the story, and, being a consummate salesman in need of cash, takes on the mission.
The story that unfolds takes us back to the very first scene in the movie, but not until the very end of the movie. And that’s all I’m going to tell you, because I don’t want to spoil the way this story—which is based on true events—actually unfolds. Get Low is a comedy, a drama, and a tale of redemption and love. It also has an absolutely wonderful soundtrack of classics (including Gene Austin singing “My Blue Heaven”), ending with the incomparable Alison Krauss’ haunting rendition of “Lay My Burden Down.” This is a movie that my entire family would really enjoy, including my 84-year old mother, my brothers, and my daughters. It was released over the summer, and I hope it will be available on DVD soon.