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In the cold, winter light of a rural Mississippi Delta township, a man’s suicide radically transforms three characters’ lives and throws off-balance what has long been a static arrangement among them. Marlee is a single mother struggling to scratch a living for herself and James, her 12-year-old son, who has begun to stumble under drug and violence pressures. So when the opportunity to seek safe harbor at a new home arises, she grabs it, though the property is shared by Lawrence, a man with whom Marlee has feuded bitterly since James’s birth. With circumstances thrusting them into proximity, a subtle interdependence and common purpose emerge for Marlee and Lawrence as they navigate grief, test new waters, and tentatively move forward.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 74
- Fresh: 68
- Rotten: 6
- Average Rating: 7.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: This austere, rigorous film has a sense of place, a feeling for reality so compelling it makes us feel like we're living it, not just watching on a screen.
Fresh: An impressive and courageous filmmaking debut that screams Sundance for all the right reasons.
Fresh: Ballast strikes me as one of the few American pictures of 2008 to say what it wants to say, visually and narratively, about a specific situation and part of the country, in a way that transcends regional specifics.
Fresh: The movie is a beacon of independent filmmaking, not simply because Hammer opted more or less to self-distribute it, but because it's evident that we're a million miles away from Hollywood.
fantastic; immersive; heartfelt
The pacing was fantastic. The characters are believable, the acting was great. It follows the story of Lawrence who is the twin brother of a man who commits suicide. The man leaves behind a son and an ex wife who are struggling on their own to make it buy, they eventually move into a house next to Lawrence and sort out a new, uncertain life. It is very touching and I found myself immediately attached to the characters. The cinematography is wonderful (as it won an award for outstanding cinematography), and throughout the whole movie there is no music, yet it never feels like there is anything missing. The whole story is great, and the young boy does a marvelous job. The movie has a very good ending and I recommend this to anyone who appreciates fantastic drama. This movie accomplishes what so many others fail to achieve, it makes you earnestly care about the fate of the characters.