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Review: 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' fails to connect

Daniel Algrant's speculative drama fails to connect the dots between father and son who never really knew each other.

May 02, 2013|By Robert Abele
  • Penn Badgley and Imogen Poots in "Greetings From Tim Buckley."
Penn Badgley and Imogen Poots in "Greetings From Tim Buckley." (Handout )

The twin tragedy of the late, acclaimed singer-songwriters Tim Buckley and son Jeff Buckley is that each died young — Tim in 1975 at age 28, Jeff in 1997 at 30 — without ever really knowing each other.

Daniel Algrant's speculative drama "Greetings From Tim Buckley" addresses the one culturally arresting — and public — meeting of the souls across time: a 1991 tribute concert for Tim at which Jeff, wrestling with his absentee dad's legacy, is asked to perform. "Gossip Girl" star Penn Badgley tackles Jeff, and he bravely handles the son's musicality — whether jamming with guitarist Gary Lucas (Frank Wood), imitatively crooning in a record store or playing his father's songs on stage.

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But the pouty, therapeutic downtime in between with a moony-eyed young girl (Imogen Poots) trying to draw out his emotions is like dreary album filler. Interstitial scenes of a mid-'60s, pre-heyday Tim (Ben Rosenfield) on the road – making it happen for himself, but clearly relishing leaving responsibility and pregnant wife behind — are hardly any more illuminating.

With many languid scenes and little narrative momentum, Algrant may have been aiming for a more ethereal father-son heartbreaker. But all that comes across is twee hipster romanticism.

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"Greetings From Tim Buckley." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes. Playing: At Laemmle Noho 7

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