Best Movies by Farr
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    Sling Blade

    Sling Blade Poster
    Sling Blade Poster

    Released

    1996

    Runtime

    157

    Sling Blade

    What's it About

    Released from an Alabama psychiatric institution 25 years after he murdered his mother and her lover, 37-year-old Karl Childers (Thornton) takes a job as a fix-it man in his old hometown. Despite his violent past, the mildly retarded Childers is a gentle soul who befriends a needy young boy, Frank (Black), and his widowed mother, Linda (Canerday), who offers to take him in. But Karl's delicate re-entry into society is disturbed by Linda's no-good boyfriend, Doyle (Yoakam), a cruel, abusive drunk who treats him with utter contempt.

    Why we love it

    Alternately haunting and sweetly affecting, "Sling Blade" is a beautifully accomplished debut by actor-director Billy Bob Thornton, who conceived, wrote, directed, and starred in this absorbing drama. (He won an Oscar for his original screenplay.) Thornton's cathartic, humane portrayal of Childers — a mild-mannered simpleton who quietly protects and cares for Frank and his mom but is haunted by the past — stirs our deepest sympathies. In a nuanced turn, the late John Ritter excels as Linda's gay friend Vaughan, but the real surprise is country singer Yoakam, whose hateful, hard-drinking Doyle guides the film's tragic final act.