The Caveman's Valentine - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Caveman's Valentine Reviews

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½ February 21, 2019
Somewhat off-kilter crime drama never really takes off, and Jackson's performance is quite over-the-top.
June 27, 2016
Speciale looking Samuel L Jackson did a good job in this oke-movie . Not memoraleble . SOMDVD
June 7, 2015
Samuel L. Jackson Is One Of My Favorite Film Actors.
March 2, 2015
I enjoyed it even if it didn't amount to anything that made a whole lot of sense. Jackson follows up "Unbreakable" with another movie that proves there's more to him than brainless action flicks. Watch it if you can find it.
May 5, 2014
The Caveman's Valentine (Kasi Lemmons, 2001)
[originally posted 5Dec2001]

Lemmons, who gave us the well-above-average Eve's Bayou a few years back, helms George Dawes Green's adaptation of his own award-winning debut novel about a schizophrenic pianist, Romulus Ledbetter (Samuel L. Jackson), who wakes up one morning, walks out of his New York cave (yes, they do still have caves in New York, at least if you believe Green, and homeless people live in them), and discovers a frozen body in a tree. This may not be anything other than par for the course in winter in New York, but Ledbetter is convinced that the man's death is anything other than natural. Of course, Ledbetter is also convinced that the Chrysler building is inhabited by an evil overlord named Cornelius Beford Stuyvesant (groove on the name for a few minutes, if you're acquainted with the early history of NYC) who's out to kill him. So no one, least of all his daughter Lulu (Aunjanue Ellis, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s love interest in Men of Honor), wants to take him seriously. But Lulu, an NYC police officer, is a subordinate of the guy who ends up running the case. What's a girl to do? Add to this the fact that the dead guy's boyfriend, Matt (Rodney Eastman, of many indie films and a couple of Nightmare on Elm Street flicks-he played Joey, the mute guy), DOES believe Ledbetter, and provides him with the name of the killer, internationally-renowned photographer David Leppenraub (Colm Feore, who's been in most every movie made in the past decade). Ledbetter starts digging around to see whether there's a murder here to investigate, and, as we all know, complications ensue.

The movie is cast perfectly, from Jackson all the way down to the relatively minor part played by an almost unrecognizable Anthony Michael Hall (who really does deserve a lot more high-profile roles; the guy is just plain good). The script is well-done and moves along at a proper pace, never letting the action drop even when exploring its various subplots. Okay, Leppenraub is a little too obviously modeled on Mapplethorpe, but we'll forgive Green since the rest of it's so well-done. But the key to the whole performance is Jackson himself, who gives a career-best performance as Ledbetter. Schizophrenia may never have been filmed as well as it is here. Rather than go for the Hollywood-style nutcase one normally associates with filmed depictions of schizophrenia, Lemmons and Jackson take the DSM-IIIR route and hand us a character who's, ironically, not as believable unless you've read a whole lot of scizophrenia case studies. Then you realize just how perfect a depiction this is, and your jaw hits the floor, both at Jackson's wonderful performance and the fact that Hollywood let this movie slip through the cracks.

Very much worth going well out of your way to see, especially if you like Sam Jackson. Lots of interest from indie circles, too, as many indie-film darlings show up here. Hard to believe this movie got almost no press given the cast, but so it happened. Very highly recommended. ****
½ May 3, 2013
Better than average, but I wasn't terribly impressed with Sam Jackson's acting; Shaky and falls in and out of character at times. I think the movie deserved better reviews than it received on Flixster.
March 16, 2013
I thought that Samuel L. should have gotten an Oscar nod for this performance. This was a really great story and movie and didnt ge the recognition it should have
September 13, 2012
As if such a premise as far-out, intriguing and ambitious as this one would at any point get old, especially resting on the shoulders of such a highly watchable actor as Jackson, this tireless little buried treasure never stops throwing more engrossing and original developments at us. It's too endeavorous and creative not to have accumulated a following by now.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2012
Romulus Ledbetter: I got freezing temperatures all over my brain. And I got legends of angels up there! Like little moths, and they'll beat the hell out of you with their wings! 

"Inside a tortured mind... The clues that lead to a killer."

This weird crime thriller is just as schizophrenic as its character Romulus. I really don't know exactly what to think about it. As of now, all I really know is that I didn't enjoy it. I wasn't particularly thrilled by the story, nor was I enamored by the style. It was also maybe the first time I have seen Samuel L. Jackson in a movie, and didn't love his performance. His acting was more than just schizophrenic, it was off the wall and over the top. I'm guessing that's what the director wanted because the whole movie came off like that as well. It had all the makings to be a truly intelligent thriller. I liked the initial idea for the movie, but by the thirty minute mark, I was less then thrilled by what was going on. By the hour mark, I knew this wasn't going to be good. And by the hour and a half mark, I really just didn't care anymore. 

Romulus is a genius musician who attended Juilliard. Now he lives in a cave in a New York City park. He's also crazy as fuck, seeing images and talking to his ex-wife like she is present. He also has a variety of crazy theories. When he finds a frozen corpse in a tree outside of his cave, he starts expressing what he thinks happened, to the police; one of which is his daughter. Obviously they think he is crazy. He decides to try to investigate what is going on by himself. 

The Caveman's Valentine isn't an unwatchable movie, it's just one that I couldn't particularly get into and enjoy. I normally can enjoy these psychological, mind fuck movies, but this one was either too much or too little. I haven't really decided yet. I still can't really organize my thoughts on this one. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few years and I'll like it. Or maybe I will realize why I disliked it to the extreme of which I did, because normally like a movie or not; I know exactly why. This one... not so much.
½ June 23, 2012
Jackson plays a decent mentally ill hobo. Good twist but low budget.
½ May 12, 2012
It's unfortunate that all this talent is misplaced on what is, essentially, a contrived mystery.
Super Reviewer
½ April 23, 2012
A delusional homeless man finds a body, and then proceeds to investigate. Except nobody will listen to him, or take him seriously - let alone believe him. Plot wise, it's not the greatest whodunnit, it's Jackson's performance along with some great production work that keeps you interested.
March 5, 2012
This is a true thinking movie
February 9, 2012
Here's a movie that made no sence what so ever. Litteraly. Off a 14 milion dollar budget it grossed 635 thousand. And was lucky to make any money at all. Grossly unintresting and more than completely boring. Still I'm gald I wasted my time watching it because I have no life.
½ February 6, 2012
Ça m'a prit 2 jours a écouter... BORING!
January 29, 2012
Samuel Jackson gave a stellar performance.
January 28, 2012
It was a great film. Its not the simple minded. This movie had a double meaning. Sam Jack was great!
½ January 19, 2012
The actual mystery to solve is not that great, but this film has a refreshing ballsy quality to it and brims with visual and narrative inventiveness. I could see a remake of this winning Oscars a generation from now. Excellent character for Jackson.
January 14, 2012
Jackson does an admirable job playing a schizophrenic, however I wasn't enamored with the visuals associated with the character's mind. The story takes a while to set up but comes together pretty well when it just seemed like a mess throughout. I liked it but didn't love it.
December 8, 2011
Awesome love the dreads and all
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