“”Let Him Go” is a story of a personal tragedy that befalls a small family in Montana during the late 1950’s.
A retired sheriff and his wife lose a newly-married son in an accident. Then four years later, they also lose their grandson. The young boy is now part of a new family after the daughter-in-law remarries. But the new father is a mean and angry son of a North Dakota matriarch. This other woman demands the son come back home to raise the little boy – and that leaves the older couple in complete disarray.
George Blackledge (played by Kevin Costner) and his loving wife Margaret (played by Diane Lane) live a peaceful and serene existence on a Montana ranch. They have a son who dies suddenly, right after he and his new wife have a child. The new mother Lorna (played by Kayli Carter) is now a widow with a little boy. But after four years, she remarries a man from out-of-town. Donnie Weboy (played by Will Brittain) is the guy from North Dakota. But he was raised in a dysfunctional family. One day Margret sees Donnie out on the street, giving Lorna a smack down, and he also mistreats the grandson.
Suddenly Donnie, Lorna and the boy move away without saying anything to Margaret or George. She is really devastated that the grandson is now gone. She tells George about what she saw, and how she fears for the little boy and for Lorna. George is level-headed and tells her that there is nothing that they can do. Margaret will hear none of it. She decide that she will gone alone, if need be, to search for the grandson. Maybe she can convince Lorna and Donnie that they can take care of the boy.
George knows it might be risky, so the two of them travel to attempt and find the Weboy family. Everyone that meet who knows about the family tells them they have no chance. The happen to meet up with a young Native Indian man who raises horses. Peter (played by Booboo Stewart) knows something of the Weboy clan, and he knows enough to stay away. But the two of them keep going on to find a relative of Donnie. Bill Weboy (Jeffrey Donovan) knows that they are coming and he meets them in the small town. He takes them out to the Weboy family farm.
Bill tells them that the Weboy family a small tight-knit group. Donnie and Lorna live there out on the family farm. Bill takes them there where they meet the overbearing matriarch of the clan. Blanche Weboy (played by Lesley Manville) pretends to be pleasant and makes small talk. But she and Margaret rub each other the wrong way. They meet Lorna and her son later that night. But Blanche makes sure everyone knows who is in charge, and she sends them away without much time to visit with the boy.
George and Margaret secretly meet with Lorna and try to convince her to get away with the boy. They want their grandson to have a normal childhood and not be dominated by Blanche and the cruel Weboy family. Lorna seems to know that is the right thing to do. Later there is a confrontation between Margaret and George when the Weboy family shows up for revenge. George is severely injured, and Margaret is now even more determined to get the boy. With some help from their friend Peter, Margaret comes up with a plan. But George, with even more spite then ever, sees fit to attack the Weboy clan straight on.
“Let Him Go” is an excellent way to make use of the two leads. Kevin Costner is perfect as a grizzled old rancher and lawman. His demeanor is cool and calm, until he is pushed over the edge and needs to fight back. Diane Lane plays the very determined wife, and she is so stubborn about saving her grandson that she convinces her husband that it is the right thing to do. Lesley Manville plays the cruel and heartless Queen Bee(atch) of the Weboy family with a huge amount of spirit and determination.
The movie has a laid-back style and tone, with some amazing scenery and shots of the Badlands. Along with the calm music score (by Michael Giacchino) it might lull you into thinking it is a slow-paced love story. But towards the end, the level of tension and violence picks up and gets you feeling unsettled. There is nothing short of a war between the Blackledge and the Weboy families, and each side has some losses.
“Let Him Go” is movie that shows the deepest meaning of love – how wanting to protect your small, helpless grandson can bring out the inner Grizzly out of two grandparents.
Let Him Go
Directed by: Thomas Bezucha
Screenplay by: Thomas Bezucha
Based on: “Let Him Go” (by Larry Watson)
Starring: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Lesley Manville, Jeffrey Donovan
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Distributed by: Focus Features
Release date: November 6, 2020
Length: 114 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for violence