Ulee Jackson is angry and bitter about the turn his life has taken, but rather than express his anger or turn it inward, he suppresses it. He cuts himself off from his family and friends, and they resent it. He's a kind and gentle soul, you can see that, but in his condition he can't connect with others. The movie is about Ulee and his family learning to close the spaces between them. Peter Fonda gives Ulee dignity and wisdom, but keeps him vulnerable. You get to know the character very, very well. It's a fascinating, heartfelt performance.
There's a stillness and calm about the picture that's pleasing, almost comforting - a real change of pace from your typical noisy Hollywood fare. And, miracle of miracles, there's no romantic subplot - it's more like a friendship subplot.