By Nick Boyd. “Let Him Go,” a period piece set in early 1960s Montana, centers on a rancher named George (Kevin Costner) and his wife named Margaret (Diane Lane) whose son is suddenly killed in a horse riding accident. The son is married with a child and when his widow Lorna remarries someone of questionable character named Donnie Weboy, this sets the plot into motion.
One day when Margaret sees Lorna’s new husband, Donnie, hit her and the child, she becomes convinced that he is definitely a bad influence. When Margaret finds out her daughter-in-law, new husband, and grandson have left town, she makes it her mission to find them. Her goal is to bring the grandson home with her and her husband to raise them in a better environment.
Along this journey, we learn that Margaret is headstrong and opinionated, while George is more laid-back. A chance encounter with a young Native-American man named Peter who lives on his own provides some of the quieter, more sadder moments in the movie, as Peter recounts to Margaret and George his harsh discriminatory upbringing.
When Margaret and George arrive at Donnie’s mom’s house, things do not get off to a good start. The matriarch of a corrupt and local influential family, Blanche (Lesley Manville), cannot believe they did not come all that way simply to enjoy her delicious home-cooked meal. Blanche is very protective of Donnie and it appears that she likely had a say in his returning to be near her. The Weboy’s as a whole seem like they have it in for Margaret and George and as the movie progresses, a violent showdown seems inevitable. The actors portraying various members of the Weboys all give over-the-top performances, yet that fits their characters and does not detract from things. Manville especially is entertaining in the performance that she gives.
While the film starts off as a Clint Eastwood film, in its pacing and how it unfolds, in the latter part it turns into a horror movie of sorts. Some spoilers to follow, so consider not reading this part if you have not seen the film. Decision-making starts to go downhill when Margaret gets into the car of a fellow Weboy, as they head off towards Blanche’s house.
It did not make sense that Margaret would have gotten in the car with someone who seemed like he could have done something evil to her. Also, after Margaret and George have had lunch with just Lorna, and she seems to go along with a plan they have made, why would she have revealed the exact motel location Margaret and George were staying to the Weboy clan if she was on their side?
Why would George have gone back to the Weboy’s house after all they had done to him at the motel? Also, it did not make sense that George would linger in the Weboy’s house after rescuing his grandson and getting Lorna to leave. He should have immediately left, especially after what he had done to their house. Lastly, how could George have survived getting shot so many times?
The acting by Costner and Lane is understated and quite good and the cinematography really captures the beauty of the landscapes. The two sides truly show what it means to have devotion and family loyalty.
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