About Schmidt (2002)

ALEXANDER PAYNE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 2002.  New Line Cinema.  Screenplay by Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Louis Begley.  Cinematography by James Glennon.  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A newly retired vice-president of an Omaha insurance company (Jack Nicholson) looks forward to his new life of lazy days and leisure. Unfortunately, his estranged wife is taken suddenly from him and he is left to face life alone with a giant RV and his daughter’s impending wedding to a goofball. On the road to her nuptials, Nicholson stops at different landmarks of his lifetime in an effort to reflect on his past sixty-odd years and see if his youthful aspirations to make a difference in the world ever really amounted to anything. Alexander Payne’s excellent direction brings out the best of the grizzly charm we love to see so much from Jack, and then gives us a whole side of touching emotion to go with it.  Kathy Bates has a hilarious supporting role as his new son-in-law’s mother, Hope Davis plays his daughter and her fiance. Films that explore the mind-numbing terrain of America’s heartland are a dime a dozen, but Payne manages to get in a few original ideas before his gorgeously touching ending.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Actor (Jack Nicholson); Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

Golden Globe Awards:  Best Actor-Drama (Jack Nicholson); Best Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates); Best Director (Alexander Payne)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations:  Best Actor (Jack Nicholson); Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)

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