Back Fork Review: A Great Story Not Everyone Can Stomach

This is a film that came across my path earlier this week and let me tell you right now, if you are having a bad day, this is probably the last film you should be watching. Not because Back Fork is a terrible film, but it’s an emotionally stressful tale of loss and addiction you may not be able to handle. We all have been through loss and most of us have dealt with addiction either directly or indirectly, but watching both of those things  on screen is bound to be a feel bad time despite how well made it is.

Back Fork is a story about a small family in West Virginia, one day their daughter tragically dies and their lives are thrown into a deep spiral. Waylon (Stewart) refuses to deal with his daughter’s death and his disconnect with his wife destroys their marriage. Meanwhile, Waylon tries his best to help his sister overcome her opioid addiction, but he can barely manage his own drug problem which is putting him one step away from losing all everything else in his life.

Josh Stewart, who pulls triple duty of starring, writing, and directing centralizes his story on a blue collar worker who has hit a rough patch fighting his demons. However, like most people in life, that battle isn’t easy to win and some simply don’t. The realism is what makes this a stand out film, the bare-bones feel of the subject matter fits like a glove with the authentic cinematography and visual setting of small town West Virginia. Stewart carries this story as a man who slowly falls into a rock bottom, the character is tragic, but relatable because at it’s core, it’s the story of a man who could be anyone  and is anyone under the same circumstances.

The story isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s simple and forward delivery is makes it an early pick for the best drama of the year. Back Fork is a teak jerker and possibly a wake up call for many Americans.




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9 thoughts on “Back Fork Review: A Great Story Not Everyone Can Stomach

  1. I’ve been keen in revisiting and seeing more of Josh Stewart’s work since The Punisher. This one sounds like a good start. Thanks for the rec.

    1. The acting is incredible and the cinematography beautiful but as someone who has struggled with an addiction to opiate painkillers and eventual divorce due to it, the film did not portray opiate addiction accurately. Towards the end of the movie, he just falls asleep after a brief period of mild withdrawal, only to wake up completely new and recovered in the arms of the wife who is divorcing him. Doesn’t happen this way. For anyone. This movie had so much potential with such an excellent cast but the way the story plays out left me disappointed. I would be shocked to find that anyone writing or directing this film has ever truly struggled with opiate addiction.

      1. I thought the Back Fork was a great movie with superb acting. Like what Antwon mentioned about quitting cold turkey with mild withdrawal. I did wonder if a person can really do that. I did think however, that the movie was trying to show that the withdrawing didn’t happen just over night but took more time (kind of like time lapse). Then he woke up. Some of the movie had me guessing. Like the divorce then him together with his wife. I think maybe they decided to call the divorce off because shes says to him at one point okay but no more children. Thus, seemed to me like they were going for a second try together.

  2. I was looking forward to checking out this film, being a fan of AJ Cook, and was not disappointed! Beautifully written, acting was phenomenal, and the story stayed with me for most of the night.

  3. watched it on iTunes; subpar movie; makes West Virginians look like a bunch of drugged up hicks; the main actor didn’t do his home state any favors by this one

  4. Absolutely loved this film. I was very emotionally involved and the cinematography was incredible. And then the cast….A.J. Cook was phenomenal as was Josh Stewart. Definitely hard to watch, but so worth it.

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