The Straight Story


Biography / Drama

IMDb Rating 8 10 74708


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April 19, 2019 at 05:54 AM

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1hr 52 min
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1hr 52 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by WLFBoulder 10 / 10

A thoughtful film for thoughtful viewers.

Perhaps more than many films, this one is not for everyone. For some folks the idea of slowing down, reflecting and allowing things to happen in their own time is a good description of their personal hell. For others an approach like this speaks to some deep part of themselves they know exists, some part they long for contact with.

I suppose it's a function of where I am in my own life these days, but I count myself in the camp of the latter group. I found the meditative pace of this film almost hypnotic, gently guiding me into some realm almost mythological. This is indeed a journey story, a rich portrayal of the distance many of us must travel if we are to come full circle at the end of our days.

Much as been written of Mr Farnsworth's presentation of Alvin Straight, though I'm not sure there are words to express the exquisite balance of bemused sadness and wise innocence he conjured for us. Knowing now that he was indeed coming to terms with his own mortality as he sat on that tractor seat makes me wish I had had the opportunity to spend time with him before his departure. I hope he had a small glimmer of the satisfaction and truth he had brought to so many people, not just for "acting" but for sharing his absolute humanity with such brutal honesty.

Given the realities of production economics, I'm not sure full credit has been given Mr Lynch for the courage he showed in allowing the story to develop so slowly. An outsider to film production, I nonetheless understand there are few areas of modern life where the expression "time is money" is so accurately descriptive. Going deep into our hearts is not an adventure that can be rushed, and to his credit Mr Lynch seems to have understood that he was not simply telling a story--he was inviting his viewers to spend some time with their own mortality. No simple task, that.

If you'd like to experience the power of film to take introduce you to some precious part of yourself, you could do worse than spending a couple of hours with The Straight Story. And then giving yourself some time for the next little while simply listening to its echoes in the small hours of the night.

Reviewed by munchtipq 7 / 10

Surprisingly deep

I went into The Straight Story expecting a sad/happy type drama with nice direction and some good acting. These I got. What I wasn't expecting was an allegory for the trials of human existence. Leave it to Lynch to take a simple story about a 300 mile trip on a lawnmower and turn it into a microcosm for the human condition.

If you didn't notice, watch it again, paying attention to the ages of the people Alvin meets, the terrain he's driving through, the reactions people give him, the kinds of discussions he has (one of the first is about pregnancy and children, one of the last is outside of a cemetery). The last road he drives down is particulary haunting in this context, as it narrows and his fear and nervousness mount. The last mechanical failure could be seen as a death, and the miraculous rebirth of his engine relating to an afterlife, in which he achieves the desired reunion.

I only hope some of the people who branded this as a slow sappy melodrama take the time to watch with a more holistic attention.

Reviewed by ThiMoN 8 / 10

Great story

This is not a movie for fans of the usual eerie Lynch stuff. Rather, it's for those who either appreciate a good story, or have grown tired of the run-of-the-mill stuff with overt sentimentalism and Oprah-ish "This is such a wonderful movie! You must see it!"-semantics (tho' she IS right, for once!).

The story unfolds flawlessly, and we are taken along a journey that, I believe, most of us will come to recognize at some time. A compassionate, existentialist journey where we make amends för our past when approaching ourt inevitable demise.

Acting is without faults, cinematography likewise (occasionally quite brilliant!), and the dialogue leaves out just enough for the viewer to grasp the details od the story.

A warm movie. Not excessively sentimental.

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