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Ain't Them Bodies Saints
Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as star-crossed lovers in "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"

The land is sun-drenched. The gingham dress is flapping on the clothesline. The barn doors are rusted, and the cricket chirps are bordering on orchestral.

We kind of want to live in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

Set in 1970s Texas Hill Country, this stunning indie flick tells the story of an outlaw convict (Casey Affleck) who escapes prison to reunite with his fiercely loyal wife, Ruth (Rooney Mara), and daughter, Sylvie. This is, of course, a plan fraught with hardship--not the least of which is the gentle sheriff (Ben Foster) set on winning Ruth’s affections.

In some ways, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a classic tale of deadly pistols and star-crossed yearning. But in other ways, it’s a much subtler affair: The bulk of the violence and back story happens off screen, and newbie director David Lowery is far more interested in pace and nuance than high drama and tidy endings.

It doesn’t hurt that all three actors give fantastic performances, and that Lowery’s soundtrack--filled with twanging fiddles and furious hand-clapping--so acutely matches the bittersweet sentiment and hard Southern setting.

The film opens today nationwide, and trust us, you’ll want to catch it on a big screen. A TV would never do it justice.

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