• The Straight Story (1999) - A beautiful movie about life - 9/10 (03/11/16)

    The Straight Story (1999)

    ''The Straight Story'' is an authentic, heart-warming and optimistic road movie about an old man who wants to make peace with his estranged brother and goes on a long trip on his lawn mower to meet him one last time. This film is basically the antithesis of David Lynch's other movies which are often gloomy, surreal and uneasy. Still, there are a few typical David Lynch trademarks in this film. The characters are very eclectic and developed in a detailed manner. The camera techniques are calm and smooth. The movie's pace is slow and I would even describe it as peaceful.

    One thing that stands out is the acting of Richard Farnsworth. It doesn't feel like he is playing a character. It feels like he is just being himself: a stubborn, thoughtful and wise old man who wants to do things his way. This character is very likable which helps viewers caring for or even identifying with the character. Even the side characters are very profound and sympathetic. The main character only meets friendly people along the road that help him out when he is running out of money, looking for shelter or having an accident. I thought that the conversation with a young female runaway about family values around a campfire and the conversation between two war veterans in a bar were absolute emotional highlights of this film. Scenes like these offer a lot of food for thought and may make more sensitive viewers cry because they are so beautiful. The dialogues add a lot to this since they are written with great care. The main character doesn't speak much but when he does so, he always has something meaningful to say. Since the movie is based upon true events, it even feels more authentic and could be situated somewhere between a drama and documentary.

    The movie has a very philosophical side without ever being pretentious. Recurring topics are the beauty of nature, coping with loss and sadness, dealing with painful memories, the downsides of getting old, the meaning of life, optimism and perseverance in difficult circumstances and the values of family and friendship. While younger audiences might find this movie too smooth, it has so much depth and talks about what life really is about. I would suggest any teenager or young adult to experience this film with an open mind and to think about the real essence of life beyond money, popularity and wealth.

    David Lynch once said that ''The Straight Story'' might be his most experimental film and this is definitely the case. It's an emotional, meaningful and wise movie where sensitive scriptwriters, an imaginative director and gifted actors joined forces to create a truly beautiful gem that should be more popular than it is.

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