Robert Duvall) feared by the townsfolk for unspecified misdeeds who decides to throw himself a funeral while he's still alive. One clue in that direction is the presence of Bill Murray as the funeral director eager to take Duvall's money - especially given the unexplained downturn in business (which occasions one of the funnier discussions in the film). However, by the end (or the middle more accurately) of the movie it becomes clear that the comedy is only there to make more palatable the deeper dramatic turns ahead of us. I won't talk to any of the "mystery" around the characters' motivations or Duvall's relationship with the other famous actor in the mix, Sissy Spacek. As befitting the cast it's a well acted piece with an authentic period feel. Though for some reason beyond Murray's performance (which was a delight) I had a hard time mustering up enough interest to really care about the outcome. It's possible that my building exhaustion of SXSW screenings had something to do with my tepid response. So you might be better off taking my reaction with a grain of salt if the material looks appealing to you. Just do be aware this is a serious film that's not intended to be "fun" overall.
Screening notes: I was lucky enough to see this at its SXSW premiere. I was actually almost knocked down by security on the way to the restroom because Duvall and Spacek were coming through. Everyone involved with the film seemed to be in attendance. I'm pleased to say Bill Murray is as entertaining in a Q&A as he tends to be onscreen. I tried to take some pictures but sadly my phone wasn't up to the task. One of the main reasons I'm seeking out upgraded equipment for my next fest. Some of the intro and Q&A made it's way onto youtube - so I've included those clips below as well
Intro of film: