What You Need To Know:
Despite this movie’s frequent Christian content, viewers never actually see Tyrone or his wife coming to faith in Jesus Christ to solve their problems. Instead, an unexpected surprise at the club helps them out. Perhaps that is the break from God that Tyrone wants, but perhaps not. Thus, the movie’s worldview is mixed. HONEYDRIPPER also contains some strong dirty language, alcohol abuse, stealing, and lying, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
(PaPa, Ab, C, B, P, LL, V, S, AA, D, MM) Mostly mixed, strong pagan worldview where characters apparently turn to things other than God to help themselves, with an anti-Christian element in one scene where a main character seeking to save himself says (with some cursing) that he would believe in Jesus Christ if only God would cut him a break, plus some Christian and moral elements such as prayer, woman attends tent revival services and discusses with her husband that the “Spirit moved” her, woman shown ready to take step to accept Jesus at an altar but viewers don’t see the final step and she and her husband seem to find other ways to help themselves besides accepting Christ, depicted tent revival sermons include Scripture quoted as well as invitations to come to the altar, woman goes to stand by her husband, and preacher talks about turning to Christ and turning away from Hell, woman prays, “Thank you, Jesus,” and funeral service depicted with reference to the “Alpha and Omega,” plus one reference to patriotism as man talks about pursuing the American way; 15 obscenities, no profanities, four uses of the “N” word; violence includes man is stabbed and two characters square off to fight but they are stopped; light sexual content includes man and woman flirt and make passes at each other using double entendres and some dirty talking; no nudity; alcohol use depicted throughout as main character owns a bar and some drunkenness depicted; several scenes of depicted cigarette smoking; and, miscellaneous immorality includes a white sheriff abuses the law to get another field hand, father steals some money from his daughter’s savings, man impersonates famous guitarist, main character plans to cut the power in his bar and run off with the money to avoid debts but he finds another way to solve most of his problems, and blackmail.
HONEYDRIPPER, set in Alabama in the 1950s, tells the story of Tyrone “Pine Top” Purvis (Danny Glover), a down-on-his-luck bar owner. Resting his hopes on a famous electric guitar player, Tyrone has one weekend to pay off his debts to the liquor man, the landlord, the chicken man, and many others.
At the time of the cotton harvest, Tyrone’s club, The Honeydripper Lounge, has hit a make-it-or-break-it weekend. When the famous Guitar Sam is scheduled to perform, the town buzzes with anticipation about the old club. However, when Guitar Sam doesn’t show, Tyrone concocts a scheme to use a local kid who boasts about being a great guitarist to pose as Sam, lure in the crowds, cut the power in the room, steal the club’s cash box and leave town. In Tyrone’s mind, he can’t get a break from God, so he decides to make a break of his own.
As Tyrone is in a place of emotional desperation about his bar, his wife, Delilah, is in a place of spiritual desperation down at the local tent revival. As she considers walking the aisle to dedicate her life to Christ, Tyrone considers skipping town with the club’s money.
HONEYDRIPPER gets close to being a great movie, but it misses the target, redemptively speaking, but also dramatically.
The story teases a salvation subplot the entire movie. Tyrone’s wife, Delilah, attends several tent revival meetings in which the Gospel is clearly told. The pastor warns that we must turn to God and turn away from the world. The pastor even says that, at times, you may have to decide between Christ and your family if they will not repent. As she gets closer to accepting Christ, her husband gets closer to falling away completely. Finally, when the crisis comes, Delilah stands near the altar ready to accept the Lord, but the audience never sees her take the final step. Then, she shows up by her husband’s side at the bar to help him get through the night. He never goes through with his crooked scheme, but he also never finds his faith. The movie, instead, gives the message that rock-n-roll is what saves Tyrone and his club. Perhaps that is the break from God that Tyrone wants, but perhaps not.
That mixed message, along with some racial slurs, some strong foul language, and some politics of greed and prejudice keep HONEYDRIPPER from being a great movie. The real world is filled with real people with real problems in need of a real Savior. In this movie, two out of three isn’t bad, but it’s not great. The audience gets real people with real problems, but we never get to the real Savior, who is Jesus Christ. Because of the missed opportunity, along with some objectionable content, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for HONEYDRIPPER.