Penn Badgley as Jeff Buckley in 'Greetings from Tim Buckley'

Greetings From Tim Buckley

Penn Badgley

Directed by Daniel Algrant
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
May 2, 2013

Aspiring musician Jeff Buckley (Penn Badgley), 24, leaves California for New York in 1991 to reluctantly perform in a concert tribute, at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Church, to his singer-songwriter father, Tim Buckley, who died of a heroin overdose in 1975, at 28.

That's pretty much what there is of narrative drive in Greetings From Tim Buckley. Yet director Daniel Algrant (Naked in New York, People I Know), working from a script by Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel, etches a haunting tone poem about the bond between a father and son who barely knew each other. In flashbacks, we see Tim (Ben Rosenfield) building a career that included nine albums with scant attention to family, except for sneaking into the home of his ex-wife to watch his son in his crib.

Algrant mostly dodges tear-jerking with the help of actors who stay alert to nuance, including Norbert Leo Butz as Hal Willner, the concert organizer, and a radiant Imogen Poots as Allie, an intern who tags along as Jeff visits his dad's old haunts instead of rehearsing.

Badgley, best known for playing "lonely boy" Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, is a revelation. He wears his role like a second skin, catching Jeff's quirky humor (a scene at a record store where Jeff imitates rock legends is a blast) and the raw nerve he exposed in his vocals. At the concert, singing Tim's "Once I Was" a cappella when a guitar string breaks, an unknown reveals the artist he will become. Jeff's accidental drowning death in 1997, at 30, underscores the sense of loss in a heartfelt and deeply moving film. It'll get to you.

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

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »