The Last Rites of Joe May

Watch The Last Rites of Joe May

  • NR
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 6.8  (777)
  • 64

The Last Rites of Joe May is a 2011 drama film directed by Joe Maggio and featuring an outstanding performance from Dennis Farina, in what would be his final leading role. Set in the impoverished neighborhoods of Chicago, the movie follows the story of an aging small-time gangster named Joe May, who is released from the hospital after a lengthy stay due to pneumonia. Struggling to accept that his health is failing and that his old life is gone, Joe sets out to reclaim what he lost: his friends, his money, and his former glory.

The film opens with the arrival of Joe at his rundown apartment, anticipating the repair work he ordered with his last bit of money. When he opens the door, he finds that the tenant, a young single mother named Jenny (Meredith Droeger), has moved in, along with her child. Joe immediately sees this as an opportunity to make some much-needed cash and ingratiates himself with the child, offering to babysit while Jenny works. Despite being a hardened criminal, Joe is a charming man, and he soon strikes up a genuine friendship with the young girl who sees in him the father figure she never had.

Joe's attempts to rekindle his former life prove to be challenging, with most of his former associates either dead or having moved on from the criminal lifestyle. He reconnects with his old flame, Lenny (Jamie Anne Allman), but she is now married to his former protégé (Matt DeCaro) and has moved on from their tumultuous past. Joe's attempt to make money selling stolen goods goes awry, forcing him to confront his old habits and the harsh reality that he can't change who he is.

Dennis Farina's performance as Joe May is extraordinary, portraying a man who is equal parts charming and reckless. He imbues the character with the right amount of vulnerability, making him both relatable and tragic. Joe's interactions with the young girl, played convincingly by Meredith Droeger, is one of the film's highlights, providing a softer, more humane side to his character.

The cinematography of The Last Rites of Joe May is excellent, capturing the gritty, bleak feel of Chicago's inner-city neighborhoods perfectly. The movie is not so much a story as it is a character study, allowing the audience a glimpse into the inner workings of an aging criminal, struggling to come to terms with his own mortality. The supporting cast all performs well, but it is Dennis Farina's presence that elevates the film, creating a character that is both relatable and appalling.

The film's pacing is deliberate, taking the time to immerse the audience in Joe's world, allowing them to feel the full weight of his failures and regrets. The ending is both poignant and fitting, offering closure to Joe's story in a way that is satisfying and authentic.

In conclusion, The Last Rites of Joe May is a well-crafted, character-driven drama that showcases Dennis Farina's talents in his final leading role. Though it may not be the most action-packed film, it offers a profound look into the life of an aging criminal, a man who is struggling to come to terms with his own mortality and the legacy he will leave behind. It is a film that lingers long after the credits roll, offering the audience a glimpse into the often harsh reality of life in the inner city.

The Last Rites of Joe May is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 64.

The Last Rites of Joe May
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (777)
  • Metascore