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It's 1950, and it's a make or break weekend for Tyrone Purvis, the proprietor of the Honeydripper Lounge. Deep in debt, Tyrone is desperate to bring back the crowds that used to come to his place. He decides to lay off his long-time blues singer Bertha Mae and announces that he's hired a famous guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a one night only gig in order to save the club. Into town drifts Sonny Blake, a young man with nothing to his name but big dreams and the guitar case in his hand. Rejected by Tyrone when he applies to play at the Honeydripper, he is intercepted by the corrupt… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"While this may not be the rowdiest birth-of-rock-'n'-roll film ever made -- it's very likely the least rowdy -- Sayles addresses a transitional moment in his own patient, precise way."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Although Honeydripper won a screenplay award at the San Sebastián Film Festival, it's not Sayles' strongest work. Part of the problem is that it keeps building to a rock-'n'-roll payoff that never quite arrives."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"It's a leisurely paced period musical drama set in the Jim Crow south of the 1950s that's steeped in the black southern mores ... ."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"The movie's central story is too slight and predictable to justify all the embroidery Sayles adds around the edges."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"It survives on its versatile leads, its smoky cinematography (courtesy of Dick Pope) and its seductive musical performances, which run from gospel to jazz to blues to the to the electrifying kick-start of early rock 'n' roll."
‑ Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
"An engaging and inspirational tale... handled with graceful understatement."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"John Sayles, after 27 years and 16 films, is the ancient mariner of independent cinema, navigating the constantly swirling waters of the genre with passion and skill."
‑ Lori Hoffman, Atlantic City Weekly
"In this allegory, you understand, times change and troubles stay the same."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"Never reaches its full tempo"
‑ Donald Munro, Fresno Bee
"Even more than the music in this musically rich picture, the great pleasure of Honeydripper is in watching Danny Glover as Tyrone Purvis, the club owner."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"It's optimistic, and maybe it doesn't have a heck of a lot to do with history, but it's a tale well told."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"This isn't the kind of flashy Big Issue movie that makes people stand up and take notice. It's quiet and moody, with outbursts of strong emotion and energy."
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"... a tone deaf movie, filled with obvious, overly expository dialogue and sometimes patronizing symbols."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Those who are patient will be rewarded with an engaging cast and the type of rousing ending that makes it worthwhile."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for Honeydripper on Rotten Tomatoes

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