It’s a happy birthday to Joey Lauren Adams, who turns either 37 or 40 years old today, depending on whom you believe. She’s always been a weird one, Adams, part quirky-hot and part decidedly not. How those percentages break depend on a variety of conditions and variables, including alcohol and one’s affinity for Chasing Amy. Then there’s that voice, too: distinctive, I guess one would say.
Still, Come Early Morning, Adams’ very loosely semi-autobiographical debut as a feature-length writer-director — starring Ashley Judd as a rural woman caught up in a cycle of self-destructive behavior — was much better than probably anyone expected, and I hope Adams doesn’t completely abandon that pursuit as a second career path. It took her five years to scrape together financing for the film, but there was a non-condescending authenticity to the picture that I found welcoming. I don’t think she’d be much more than a cog in the studio system, and I have no idea if the creative well is dry after Come Early Morning (see: Gary Oldman after Nil By Mouth), but if she has the means to give herself the time, Adams should totally concentrate on crafting another small, intimate movie that really means something to her.