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The Yellow Handkerchief: movie review

Set in the Louisiana bayou, ‘The Yellow Handkerchief’ is a quiet character drama, starring Kristen Stewart and William Hurt.

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In this film publicity image, Eddie Redmayne, left, and Kristen Stewart are shown in a scene from, 'The Yellow Handkerchief.'

Eric Lee/Samuel Goldwyn Films/AP

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The “Twilight” series has suddenly changed Kristen Stewart from Minor Teen Actress (“The Panic Room,” “The Messengers”) to Major Teen Star. So I suppose one good byproduct of Stephenie Meyer’s I-loved-a-vampire epic is the belated release of “The Yellow Handkerchief,” a sensitive, nicely made character drama that was shot in 2007, prior to the first “Twilight” film.

Stewart plays Martine, a 15-year-old Louisiana girl, who is itching to grow up and get away from her family. One day, Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), an odd boy a few years older, spots her in a diner and tries to pick her up by inviting her for a ride; she resists until Brett (William Hurt), a similarly odd adult a few decades older, agrees to come along. She’s clearly more romantically interested in the geezer, but he seems to be wise enough not to go for it.

His wisdom has been hard-won: Brett is fresh out of prison after serving a six-year sentence for manslaughter. Already taciturn by nature, Brett discreetly doesn’t tell the kids his background at first. Plus, he’s too distracted by his own issues, mostly whether to try to pick up the pieces of his old life or start fresh.

Thanks to one road misfortune after another, this afternoon outing stretches into several days, during which bits of history are exchanged, bonding inevitably occurs, and our perspective on all three characters shifts.

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