The Last Rites of Joe May

Released 2011


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Movie Summary

Joe Maggio
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Despite all evidence to the contrary, aging short-money hustler Joe May (Dennis Farina) always believed he had a glorious future ahead of him. Now in his sixties, Joe is released from the hospital after a long battle with pneumonia and forced to confront the harsh reality of his legacy: everyone he knew had assumed he was dead, and life had gone on around him without missing a beat. Returning to his old neighborhood in Chicago's "Patch" district, he finds his car gone, all his worldly possessions pawned by his landlord, and the apartment he's lived in his entire adult life rented out to a single mother named Jenny and her eight year-old daughter Angelina . After a rough night's sleep outdoors, Joe reluctantly moves in with the new tenants of his home - at least until he is able to get back on his feet. Even as Joe doggedly pursues his comeback, he finds the odds stacked drastically against him. He gets no respect from his old supplier, his best friend and partner in crime has moved into an assisted living facility, and even Joe's prized pigeon coops have fallen into disrepair. Throughout this ordeal, Joe's one lifeline is his burgeoning friendship with his co-tenants. So when things turn ugly between Jenny and her boyfriend - a crooked detective with a penchant for domestic violence - Joe is determined to take a stand for his unlikely new family, and perhaps take one last shot at redefining his legacy.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The film, written and directed by Joe Maggio, only has this handful of characters and looks at them carefully. The dialogue is right, the conflicts are simple and sincere, the hope...

  • 70

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    Mr. Maggio's strengths here are his people (not their stories), a sense of intimacy and textured place rather than the generic hoops he forces the characters to jump through.

  • 70


    Despite all this boilerplate gangster-with-a-heart-of-gold stuff, there's an emotional payoff to "Joe May" that feels solid and right.


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