The Yellow Handkerchief (2008 film)

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The Yellow Handkerchief
Theatrical release poster
Directed byUdayan Prasad
Written byErin Dignam
Based onThe Yellow Handkerchief
by Yoshitaka Asama & Yoji Yamada
Produced byArthur Cohn
StarringWilliam Hurt
Maria Bello
Kristen Stewart
Eddie Redmayne
CinematographyChris Menges
Edited byChristopher Tellefsen
Music byEef Barzelay
Jack Livesey
Release date
  • January 18, 2008 (2008-01-18) (Sundance)
  • February 26, 2010 (2010-02-26) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15.5 million[1]
Box office$318,623[1]

The Yellow Handkerchief is a 2008 American independent drama film. The film is a remake of the 1977 Japanese classic of the same name The Yellow Handkerchief (幸福の黄色いハンカチ Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi, lit. The yellow handkerchief of happiness) directed by Yoji Yamada.[2]

Set in the present-day American South, The Yellow Handkerchief stars William Hurt as Brett Hanson, an ex-convict who embarks on a road trip straight out of prison. Hanson hitches a ride with two troubled teens, Martine (Kristen Stewart) and Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), traversing post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana in an attempt to reach his ex-wife and long-lost love, May (Maria Bello). Along the way, the three reflect on their existence, struggle for acceptance, and find their way not only through Louisiana, but through life.[3] Directed by Udayan Prasad and produced by Arthur Cohn, the film was shown at Sundance in 2008 and given a limited release on February 26, 2010, by Samuel Goldwyn Films.


After being released from prison after six years, ex-convict Brett Hanson becomes lost in a new and unfamiliar world of freedoms and responsibilities. Struggling to reconcile himself with his disastrous past, he embarks on a journey to his home of south Louisiana to reunite with the ex-wife he left behind, May. Along this journey, he meets two teenagers: Martine, a troubled 15-year-old who has just escaped her family, and Gordy, a geeky outcast desperately seeking acceptance. Martine and Gordy offer to give Brett a lift home, and on the ensuing road trip the three reflect on their own personal misfit status while discovering in themselves and each other the acceptance each so deeply desires. Brett weighs whether to start a new life or rekindle his love with May – he's not sure she'll take him back[3] – while Martine reevaluates her relationships with boys and her family and Gordy struggles with his affection for Martine.



In 2003, Cohn obtained remake rights for The Yellow Handkerchief from Shochiku.[4] Financing came from private investments rather than through pre-sales. Cohn commented saying "The money came from four Europeans — three women from Switzerland: Annette Grisard, Jeannine Eckenstein, Esther Grether and a gentleman by the name of Samuel Falk from Austria — all of whom were anxious to support a film they hoped would be memorable without any scenes of violence, brutality or sex. These investors were not concerned that the film would be considered "small." They felt, as we do, that there are no small films or big films, only films which are good and emotional and others which are not."[5]

Filming took place in February 2007 and was shot in 43 different locations.[citation needed]

Hurt prepared for his role by spending four days at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, including a rare overnight for a volunteer in a maximum-security cell. In an interview, he said he'd also done "[y]ou'd call it charitable work... periodically visit[ing] the prisons in Rockland County in New York State to take a program of hope and self-rehabilitation to" the prisoners.[3]


Critical response[edit]

The Yellow Handkerchief received generally positive reviews. It holds a 66% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 50 reviews,[6] as well as a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 on Metacritic.[7]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $318,623 in 29 theaters in the United States.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "The Yellow Handkerchief (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
  2. ^ "Prasad to direct Cohn's remake of Yellow Handkerchief". Screen Daily. February 12, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Interview with William Hurt: Transcript". Terry Gross for Fresh Air. February 25, 2010. Plot summary in interview confirms all but Bello character name in introductory plot summary. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  4. ^ "Cohn buys up Yellow Handkerchief remake rights". Screen Daily. September 10, 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  5. ^ "Official film website".Archived March 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "The Yellow Handkerchief (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  7. ^ "The Yellow Handkerchief (2010)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 22, 2010.

External links[edit]