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flick pick | The Straight Story 1999
Directed by: David Lynch
Written by: John Roach, Mary Sweeney
Starring: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek
Look for it at the video store under: drama

Watch it when youíre in the mood for something: true?!?
The critic says: Ĺ/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5

Plot synopsis Seventy-three-year-old Alvin Straight lives in a small town in middle-of-nowhere Iowa with his daughter Rose. One day, the phone rings, and with it comes the news that his brother Lyle has just had a stroke. Alvin hasnít talked to Lyle in ten years, thanks to a terrible argument, but with old age upon him and death weighing heavily on his mind, he decides itís time to let go of old grudges, and reconnect with his brother. Heís determined to make a trip out to see Lyle in person Ė even though it means trekking hundreds of miles out to Wisconsin. Unfortunately, Alvin has hips so bad he can barely stand straight, eyesight so impaired that heís lost his driverís license, and very little money to his name, all of which combine to make getting from here to there a bit of a challenge. Alvin canít drive himself in a car, but itís important to him to find some way to make the long slow journey all by himself Ė which is how he finds himself seated atop an ancient little John Deere lawnmower, pulling a makeshift trailer far too heavy for his ride to hold, putting along patiently on an adventure that takes him through vast fields and small hills Ö and eventually, over the great Mississippi River into Wisconsin.

Review David Lynch is so famous for making weird movies that itís sometimes easy to overlook the fact that Lynchís work is connected by far more than red velvet curtains, surreal plot twists and incomprehensible dream symbols. At his best, heís a director who understands that quirks and weirdnesses define even the most "normal"-seeming individuals, and that thereís so much beauty to be found in these eccentricities. So The Straight Story, a G-rated Disney movie thatís about as straightforwardly linear, simple and easy-to-follow as a tale can get, is both decidedly un-Lynchian (stylistically) and deeply Lynchian (thematically) at the same time. When you think about it, itís hard to imagine another director who could tell the heartwarming true story of Alvin Straight quite so perfectly, beautifully unsentimentally. Thereís no denying the fact that itís completely absurd, and certifiably loopy, to drive a lawnmower across any distance greater than, say, the length of oneís own yard, but part of whatís so delightful about Richard Farnsworthís Alvin Straight is that heís old enough, and tired enough, and certain enough about whatís really important to him, that he doesnít give a hoot that everyone around him thinks heís totally off his rocker for even making the attempt. He has a brother to get to and a journey to make, and if that journey is long, slow and oftentimes difficult, well, thatís life. Like Alvin and his lawnmower, The Straight Story moves at a deliberately unhurried pace Ė and in its totally unpretentious, refreshingly unassuming manner, allows you to take in the beauty of what youíre watching, to savor scenes as they quietly unfold. óreviewed by Y. Sun

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