The Straight Story (1999)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBBB

France/United Kingdom/USA, 1999.  Asymmetrical Productions, Canal+, Channel Four Films, CiBy 2000, Les Films Alain Sarde, StudioCanal, The Picture Factory, The Straight Story Inc., Walt Disney Pictures.  Screenplay by David Lynch.  Cinematography by David Lynch.  Produced by , . Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Mary Sweeney.  Academy Awards 1999.  Cannes Film Festival 1999European Film Awards 1999.  Golden Globe Awards 1999

Everything is done perfectly in this heartwarming tale, based on the true story of Alvin Straight, an elderly gentleman who rode his John Deere lawnmower across two states to visit his ailing brother. Having not seen his brother in many years after having bad words with him, Straight knows that this may be his last chance to see him before he dies, but also knows that he is too old and frail to drive himself to where he lives. Richard Farnsworth is absolutely terrific in the lead role, giving a strong and admirable performance, while Sissy Spacek is equally brilliant as his mentally challenged daughter whom he loves dearly and hates to leave. The many people he meets on the road make for wonderful encounters that are always touching but never saccharine, and the gorgeous cinematography will make you feel like you’ve just woken up from a beautiful dream. This is the most un-David Lynch movie ever made by David Lynch; on a sadder note, this Oscar-nominated performance by Farnsworth was his last, as he took his own life a year later when he learned he was terminally ill with cancer.

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