The Lost Husband (2020)
A quietly satisfying film, this one was on Netflix last night.
After the sudden death of her husband, Libby is forced to move in with her hypercritical mother. Out of the blue, her estranged Aunt Jean offers an escape: a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road. Life on Aunt Jean’s goat farm is more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet – deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff farm manager with a tragic home life, a feed-store clerk who claims she can contact her husband on “the other side,” and the eccentric aunt she never really knew but who turns out to be exactly who she needs. (IMDb)
Ordinarily, I run away from watching ‘romance’ movies. They’re always so picture perfect greeting cards ( hence Hallmark makes them) that there is no reality to them. This film is different. Libby seems to be a woman wiped clean of any artifice. Some of the photography actually catches Leslie Bibb’s scars on occasion. It feels very real.
The old house on her aunt’s property holds the key to the missing part of Libby’s story. I won’t reveal what that is exactly, so as not to spoil your enjoyment of it, should you choose to watch the film someday. But the other scene that plays out there is important.
Sometimes our biggest regrets have to do with not telling someone we love what we want to say to them. Especially if they die before we can. But this film shows how it can be done. Sunshine, the granddaughter of Aunt Jean’s boyfriend, seems to have a spiritual side to her that pops out every once in a while, and creeps people out, especially Libby. But Sunshine persuades Libby to visit the porch of the old house in the night, and she sets some candles out, and gets Libby to close her eyes. Asking that anyone who might be there to send them a sign, Sunshine gets asked by Libby, “How will we tell? Our eyes are closed…” Libby then asks to take over. She talks to her ‘lost’ husband, Danny (who died in an automobile accident), expressing regret for not being more communicative and for changing the routine that day which put him in harm’s way. After she finished, a mighty wind blew out the candles in one great whoosh. Sunshine tells Libby that she’d ‘nailed it’. The seance has worked, because Libby starts to feel better about her situation.
Before watching this film, I never realized how beautiful small town Texas could be, especially in winter. The town, Atwater, looks totally authentic. Even the saloon ‘feels’ real. And the farm scenes are the most breathtaking of all, especially the sunsets.
This film has some great moments, some quiet despair, and a satisfying resolution.
I can recommend it to anyone who is tired of being stuck in an urban setting for six months or more. You will find a freedom of being ‘lost’ in its landscape. Bless.