Deftly directed and written by Joey Lauren Adams (of Chasing Amy fame), Come Early Morning tells the intimate story of one woman's troubles with life, love, relationships and family. The lead character of Lucy, played by Ashley Judd, knows her way around a one night stand, but is at a complete loss when it comes to more lasting intimacy. Her struggles to connect yet protect herself from pain offer a universal look into the classic human dilemma: the desire to be known vs. the fear of rejection.

Judd – finally fulfilling the promise and translucence she showed in Ruby in Paradise – plays the lead role with depth, soul and tenderness, while allowing the flaws of the character to bleed through. Luxuriating in the fullness of the part, Judd and Adams create a portrait of a woman adrift, with such specificity and care that she emerges from the screen like Venus, fully formed.

More than anything, after watching this movie, I wondered where all the female directors are? There are so many stories to tell of complicated, interesting and very real women. Hopefully, the success of female directors like Adams, Catherine Hardwicke and Nicole Holofcener will encourage other women to fight their way into the fray.

Grade: A