Rated 4.0

Director Rick Bieber’s film traces the meteoric career of respected Nashville session guitarist Hank Garland, from his teenage debut with the Grand Ole Opry to the near-fatal car crash that ended his career in 1961. Waylon Payne plays the mercurial Garland with a twinkling down-home swagger that carries the film lightly, becoming surprisingly poignant in the last act as Garland’s life and career turn tragic. The movie’s real revelation, however, is Ali Larter as Garland’s wife Evelyn. Their turbulent marriage (at least it’s portrayed as such in Bieber, Jason Ehlers and Brent Boyd’s script) is the movie’s centerpiece, and Larter’s previous work (Final Destination, Resident Evil: Extinction, Legally Blonde) gives little hint of the emotional range, screen presence and luminous sensuality she displays here.