“Greetings from Tim Buckley” is an American biographical drama released on September 9, 2012. The film centers on musician Jeff Buckley, who performed his father’s (Tim’s) songs in a 1991 performance. Daniel Algrant served as the film director and screenplay writer. The producers of this film include John N. Hart, Amy Nauiokas, Patrick Milling Smith, and Fred Zollo. Penn Badgley plays the lead role of Jeff Buckley, and Ben Rosenfield plays Tim Buckley.
New York City was the location of the film’s principal photography, which was shot in 2011. The concert scene was performed in St. Ann’s Church, which is where Jeff Buckley made his actual performance in 1991. Cinematographer Andrij Parekh uses dim lighting and a handheld camera that provides the film with an edgy mood.
Tim Buckley wrote all of the music in the film except “Hallelujah,” which was written by Leonard Cohen. Jeff Buckley covered this song on his album “Grace,” which he released in 1994. A-Z Productions and Smuggler Films produced these film albums. Celluloid Dreams owns the international rights to “Greetings from Tim Buckley”.
Badgley has mischievousness and seductive good looks that are reminiscent of James Franco during his early film career. Badgley sent Algrant a tape of his self singing, which convinced Algrant to cast Badgley for the role of Jeff Buckley. Baxley also took music lessons and rehearsed with Gary Lucas, a former songwriter for Jeff Buckley.
Algrant stated that the concert scene is highly accurate, but the rest of the film is largely conjecture. He added that he wanted to make the film emotionally honest without concern for its accuracy. Algrant uses a low-key approach that complements the loose screenplay. The open narrative of the film effectively captures the atmosphere and mood of Jeff Buckley’s life just before his historic, 1991 concert.
“Greetings from Tim Buckley” is the haunting story of rock musician Tim Buckley, who died of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-eight. His son, Jeff, drowned when he was thirty years of age, which Algrant uses to show a love-hate relationship between father and son. This relationship develops over time through their music. The film has a sense of originality that goes beyond Tim Buckley’s music.
The story is difficult to tell because the two musicians hardly knew each other in real life. Algrant’s solution is to set most of the action during the 1991 concert, when Jeff Buckley is an unknown singer about to explode onto the music scene. The film then flashes back to Tim Buckley’s prime, the 1960s.
The film opens when a concert promoter asks Jeff to attend a tribute concert for his late father, although Jeff does not yet know if he will perform at the concert. He begins rehearsing in Brooklyn with backup singer Allie (Imogen Poots), who is initially very introverted. Poots has a strong screen presence as Jeff’s romantic interest. Her character’s heavy drinking problem complicates her role as his soul mate, however.
Jeff demonstrates his extraordinary musical talent by imitating the singers on the albums that are playing in a record store. His impromptu performance ends with Jeff writhing around on the floor of the record store. Jeff also shows a darker side to his emotional makeup when a musician who knew Tim tells him something disturbing. Apparently, Tim would sneak into the house where Jeff was sleeping and stare at him. Jeff responds to the story by shrugging angrily.
Jeff’s emotions remain in the foreground of the film as the romance develops between him and Allie. He seems genuinely shaken when they visit his childhood home in upstate New York and find it boarded up. Allie capably shakes him out of his dark mood and the pair returns to New York City.
Rosenfield expresses Tim’s fear of closeness by playing his role extremely delicately. He sings soulfully in bars and eventually leaves Jeff’s mother for Janine Nichols (Jessica Stone). The scene of him in bed with Janine while Jeff is being born proves especially poignant. The climax of the film is Jeff’s renditions of his father’s songs that include “Song for Janine” and “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain.” This concert propels Jeff into rock stardom.
Fans of Jeff Buckley may notice that his original music is largely absent in the film. The film shows only a few riffs between Jeff and Gary Lucas (Frank Wood). At the end of the film, Algrant does remind the audience that Tim recorded nine albums, while Jeff recorded only one.