The Straight Story - A Old Man's Odyssey

                                            Many say, 'Pride is a double-edged sword.' It can give a person dignity and a sense of honor, but it can also take away through arrogance and vanity; sometimes it is the very cause of the injustice that an individual may experience.This theme is explored in the movie 'The Straight Story', where director David Lynch, have chosen a 73 year old man as the protagonist. The Straight Story is a G-rated movie, and was distributed by Walt Disney pictures. But don't think this is a kids movie, because they might find this movie slow and boring. Straight Story is a cinematic food for adult and mature audiences, that is devoid of violence, sex, or cursing. It is an honest and engaging attempt about real people from the heartland of America.

    The Straight Story is based on a real event in the life of a real person. It is a is a comedy of reunion,  in the later years of Alvin Straight, one of those unobtrusive men who generally live and die anonymously. Straight (Richard Farnsworth) has two bad hips, choked lungs, and poor eyesight. He lives in Laurens, Iowa, with his middle-aged daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek), who is a little "slow" mentally. When Alvin hears that his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, he decides to go visit him. "There's no one who knows your life better than a brother that's near your age," he says. "He knows who you are and what you are better than anyone on Earth." Alvin has been estranged from Lyle for ten years, and he believes it is time to swallow his pride and reach out to him.

                       But it's not easy to make the journey because, Alvin doesn't have a driver's license anymore, and he doesn't like to accept help from others. He decides to make this pilgrimage on a old lawnmower pulling a trailer with his supplies and room for him to sleep at night. The cross-state journey, which takes six weeks during the late summer and early fall, is chronicled episodically, with a genuine emotional impact. 

        I asked myself a simple question after watching this movie: If I hadn't known the director's identity beforehand and hadn't seen the opening credits, would I have recognized this as a Lynch effort? The answer is probably no.For those of u who don't know , David Lynch, I'd like to say, he is a master in crafting bizarre and compelling movies, which sometimes is very hard to understand. He mostly relies on shock tactics to arrest the audience's attention. Yet, he surprises us with a quiet and emotional family tale of reconciliation. His portrayal of American heartland is simple, but not naive. 
                       A movie like this would never work unless the lead actor hits all the right notes, and the immensely charismatic Farnsworth surely does. It's impossible to imagine the film without him; his soft voice, deep blue eyes and effortlessly manly stature embody the qualities of the good American father figure/buddy. 

                      One of the most excellent scene comes up , when Early in his trip, Alvin encounters a female hitchhiker. She spends some time around a campfire with him. She has run away from home, but he gives her the following advice: "A warm bed in a house sounds a mite better than eating a hot dog on a stick with an old geezer traveling on a lawn mower." When Alvin finally reaches brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), the meeting is also a deeply moving scene. For Alvin and Lyle show their feelings in none of the expected ways.They encounter each other, motionlessly and almost speechlessly, and only because we have been through the journey with Alvin and have thereby learned to read his inner contradictions of alienation and commitment.

                      "The Straight Story" is an emotional journey, fulfilling and touching, that put a broad smile on my face and kept it there, from the start of the film to the end. This is the kind of small, unexpected movie that doesn't draw crowds, but those who see it will feel privileged to have been one of the few.

  Trailer :     

The Straight Story - Imdb                                   


Veera said...

Arun .. Definitely , I'm one among the privileged not because I have seen this movie but having a friend like you ...

Movies you recommend like The Way Home , The Straight story , Forrest Gump .. and more .. made a great difference in life ..

Your passionate review are not only productive .. its more impactive ...Thanks a lot

vinay said...

Its still hard to accept that the maker of Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, etc can make something like this too.

umashankar said...

I am rarely able continue a Movie Review till the end. No I don't hate movies -- I am quite fond of watching good ones. It is rather that few have the ability to retain your attention. Great job, here. Will surely watch this one. Please carry on the good work!

ra said...

i believe one day your blog will turn out to be an encyclopedia of movies .. keep going Arun !!!

every movie you recommend i make a note of it

cheers !

Protik Basu said...

Interesting story...goes on my to see list...

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar said...

Intriguing! I'd never heard of this one but, after your great review, am going to check this out. Cheers!

Unknown said...

I completely agree with your review. Cracker of a film!