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Billy Crudup plays Sam, a former high-profile advertising executive whose life is torn apart by the sudden death of his son. Living off the grid on a docked sailboat, he wastes away his days while drowning his pain in alcohol. When Sam discovers a box filled with his son's demo tapes and lyrics, his own child's musical talent is a revelation for him, a grieving father who felt he'd been absent from his son's life. Communing with his deceased son's dashed dreams, Sam learns each song and eventually musters the will to perform one at a local bar. When Quentin (Yelchin), a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Rudderless is humane and almost entertaining."
‑ Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
"The story takes an even sharper left turn in the last half hour, raising emotional issues it can't adequately address."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"RUDDERLESS offers great music and two charismatic leads, yet the story tends to feel a little out of tune."
‑ JimmyO, JoBlo's Movie Emporium
"The script and characters would have benefited from more depth and dramatic layers, and some of the scenes look like add-on moments, not part of a cohesive whole."
‑ Clint O'Connor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"It would seem cynical - the perfect Sundance movie, at which festival it premiered - if it wasn't also nakedly earnest. It's almost likable despite trying hard to be so, and despite trying so hard in general."
‑ Matt Prigge, Metro
"The film is a roller-coaster of emotions and the jolt, when it comes, will send you reeling."
‑ Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
""Rudderless" isn't always smoothly paced, and features a plot twist that's awkwardly handled, but at its heart is a performance that resonates - and a director that, I hope, has more stories to tell."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"William H. Macy's directorial debut is a smash!...interesting story, good music (performed by Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin themselves), challenging and touching..."
‑ Tony Medley, Tolucan Times
"...there are many things about Rudderless that do work in smaller sections."
‑ Daniel Carlson, Movie Mezzanine
"Contrived or not, the story is put across with pleasing, unpretentious conviction and skill by Macy."
‑ Godfrey Cheshire,
"For all its noble intentions and loaded emotions, "Rudderless" proves a largely hollow, uninvolving affair."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"Dishonest, manipulative and ultimately infuriating ..."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"An authentically affecting film, elevated by ... an emotional performance from Crudup that is certain to speak to fathers, sons and anyone else afflicted with heartache."
‑ Joseph J. Airdo, San Francisco Examiner
""Rudderless" is a film about how much - and how little - you can know someone through their art, and the film itself feels like an extension of the scruffy but sincere characters Macy has been playing for decades."
‑ Rob Thomas, Madison Movie
"Two solid talents - actor Billy Crudup and actor-turned-director William H. Macy - have both thrived in theatre and been frequently seen in indie films. They give Rudderless some heft and polish, but the material rings too familiar."
‑ Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
More reviews for Rudderless on Rotten Tomatoes