Old bank robber Henry, paralyzed from a stroke, is moved from a prison hospital to a retirement home, where Carol is a nurse. She doesn't believe he's paralyzed and sees him as a way out of her boring life.
Frank Capua is a rising star on the race circuit who dreams of winning the big one--the Indianapolis 500. But to get there he runs the risk of losing his wife Elora to his rival, Luther ... See full summary »
Harry Keach has been widowed for two years and works as a bulldozer operator on a construction crew. Despite having a strong work ethic, that working life is cut short when health issues lead to him no longer being able to do the job. Harry has a strained relationship with his two grown children: Nina, who, with her insurance salesman husband, seems more concerned about what they can receive in material possessions through her relationship with Harry; and Howard, who still lives with Harry. Howard is an aspiring writer, but as a person who lives in the here and now would rather hang out having fun than find work in a steady job when he isn't writing. Despite Harry loving Howard and Howard loving Harry, the strain in their relationship is brought to the fore as Howard can work but won't while Harry wants to work but can't. Especially while they still live together, the two have to come to a new understanding as they move into the next phase of their respective lives, Howard's which ...Written by
The reason I have such fond memories of this movie is because I remember how I felt (and still do - but it's not the same as the first time) the first time I saw it on video, in maybe 1993, and the feelings it provoked in me.
I graduated from high school in 1984, the year the film was made, and my mother had passed away earlier in 1979, leaving me to grow up after 13 years of age with my father and younger sister. My older brother was soon to go into the Air Force, and my older sister was already away to college. While there were many differences between Paul Newman's character and my own father, the fundamental relationship he had with Robby Benson was right on the mark with me and my father. My father died when I was 26, in 1993. I think that Robby Benson's character was a few years younger when his dad in the movie died, but it was close enough to hit home with me. I, like the Benson character, was a little aimless after high school, and my father did seem to have more patience with me at times, he could give me some harsh input at other times. And my father went for 10 years without dating anyone after my mother passed away, but towards the end of his life he did find a woman that he had a lot of fun with, and we all did things together at times as well. My father was also about the same age as Newman's character when he died, and I was present right after he had his final heart attack and died at home.
Now that I have explained some similarities with my life and the movie, I'll get back to why I liked the movie so much. It wasn't because of the coincidental similarities between my life and the movie, but because my life is real, and many people have many of these same basic father-son dynamics, and the writers(half Newman), actors (big part Newman), and director (Newman again)somehow pulled off an amazing dose of reality with this film that is common to all of us. Newman just commits himself so honestly. He has that seriousness in his character that at times is how many capable, grounded, but real fathers are; sometimes mixes it up with a humor that is just as honest and bold, maybe even irreverent, and then other times when they're with their sons and they have a 'comradery'. And then other times when fathers are just plain irritated, and the son knows he's on his father's bad side at the moment, and he should be worried, but he also knows that his father is a softy down deep. However a son would never challenge him and expect that soft side, and the son also instinctively knows that his father isn't perfect but he is much wiser than the him, and he certainly knows the father really does love him and has the son's best interests at heart.
To summarize, first of all the performances in this movie are of a Team who were in touch with the bareness and essence of our life, of our American society and family reality. And then secondly, they somehow manage to give it back to us for us all to see on the screen, and allow us to see ourselves in a new and deeper way. I understand myself and my relationship with my father, and his relationship with me, a little better because of this movie. And that is the goal of any art, and should be the goal of people intending to make good movies. Because this movie taught me so much, I have to say that it I value it is a great movie, it (the whole Team) delivered what might be expected from the title and beyond; it was heart breaking and heart warming, it was meaningful, and I had fun watching it!. Thanks to the whole Team, but a very special thanks to Paul Newman!
22 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this