Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Rooney Mara

Directed by David Lowery
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
August 15, 2013

Note to those scared off by the poetic title (it's from a country song) and the fear that this Texas love triangle might be something out of the Terrence Malick school of lyrical reveries that sacrifice action for feelings: You're right.

That said, the bruising beauty of Ain't Them Bodies Saints gets under your skin. Writer-director David Lowery (St. Nick) sets his folk tale against the Texas Hill Country of the 1970s. Young outlaws Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara) get caught when Ruth wounds officer Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster) and Bob takes the blame. Skip ahead four years: Ruth is mother of Sylvie, baby daddy Bob has escaped from jail, and Ruth finds herself falling for Patrick, the cop she shot.

Familiar stuff, for sure. But Lowery, gifted cinematographer Bradford Young and the three lead actors lift the material to a higher plane. Mara and Affleck are vibrantly alive from the opening scene, in which Ruth and Bob revel in their romantic fantasies. And Foster is brilliant at showing Patrick's agony at verbalizing his love for Ruth, a conflicted woman riding an emotional tidal wave. Ain't Them Bodies Saints offers no glib answers or smooth resolution, but there's no question that Lowery is a filmmaker with a striking future.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »