Daniel Algrant’s Greetings from Tim Buckley is not a definitive Buckley biopic. It is a drama that manages to deliver some surprising lures from within. There are lots of stories that could be told about Tim and Jeff Buckley. One is a versatile folk musician while the younger one is a rocker. Both of them explored other genres and died young.
One thing going for Algrant is that he didn’t go the traditional bio route. Instead he focused on the 1991 tribute concert where the movie got its title. It shows the preparations via a backstage point-of-view that has detailed urgency.
Playing Jeff Buckley is Penn Badgley, who is popular for his role in TV’s Gossip Girl. Jeff is still a lost and sullen kid who is reluctant to pay homage to a person who abandoned him. His girlfriend (Imogen Poots) helps him push forward in order to play in the event. The movie features flashbacks to formative moments in the life of his father Tim (Ben Rosenfield).
Algrant utilizes Tim Buckley’s music through the movie. But the sad news is that Jeff Buckley’s estate didn’t agree to license music for use in Greetings from Tim Buckley. This is the reason why Algrant is pushed to evoke the songs that resulted into awkward tunes. The screenplay feels a bit incoherent in some parts, especially about the fictionalized romance.
Badgley gives his all to the role. He is musically and emotionally capable for the job. A highlight of Greetings from Tim Buckley sees him playing guitar riffs from different eras in a record store.
Greetings from Tim Buckley pays homage to the two great musicians. He also gives the small screen star the chance to shine with his cinematic debut. But it fails to compare to Jeff’s career changing appearance in the tribute for his father.