Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Cleavant Derricks, Liane Balaban, David Keith
Director: Bart Freundlich
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Dissatisfied with his seemingly perfect life, Cal leaves his wife, job, and home to find out what he's missing. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: R Release Date: 21-JAN-2003 Media Type: DVD
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The Search For Self
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 04/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bart Freundlich's "World Traveler" is the ultimate travel movie for it is a search for, as Richard (David Keith) says to his son, Cal (Billy Crudup) by way of explaining his desertion of Cal and his Mother, "a better life." And more to the point it is Cal's search for himself, his place in the world and ultimately what direction his life will be going in.
Cal, married, living in NYC with 3 three year old son decides one morning to leave it all in search of....who knows what? It is extremely ironic that in the last several months we have had two other films, very different in tone, conception and realization, dealing with the same theme: a man nearing the middle of his life begins to question said life and all its' various permutations: "Lantana" and "Son of the Bride." All three films also share a dream part for the lead male role and meaty, sometimes over-the-top supporting roles for women.
In "World Traveler"besides the heart breaking, sensitive performance of Billy Crudup we have three other supporting roles that add a depth of flavor, a depth of time and place and a depth of sensitivity: Julianne Moore as a whacked out loser very close to a psychotic breakdown, Cleavant Derricks as Cal's co-worker and Mary MacCormack as his wife.
"World Traveler" is shot in middle light and in sumptuous colors which adds its own flavor of longing and dreams unfulfilled. Cal is a picaresque hero in search of truth and good and it proves to be, as is always the case, residing in himself....something that only he can find, something that only he can resolve. And in Cal's case once he realizes that his search is for his father and more to the point why his father left him: he can return to his wife and child.
Bart Freundlich has made a film that touches upon those feelings that we as children never speak of, almost refuse to acknowledge: fear that our parents will abandon us one night; leave without a trace. But in "World Traveler, Freundlich calms us, feeds us a glass of warm milk and assures us that all will be fine in the morning."
On the road . . . again
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 07/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching a film like this one, you are reminded of how Hollywood has refined the telling of stories into a kind of shorthand, removing ambiguities and complexities, for quick consumption. Central characters are sympathetic and their behavior understandable in a recognizable plot line and a familiar movie genre. The filmmakers set up easy expectations and then either successfully or unsuccessfully fulfill them.This film has its conventions. It's a road movie that takes the main character cross country from New York to Oregon, meeting people along the way, each illuminating part of his journey. But it frustrates expectations because it gives us a character who is unsympathetic almost from the first scene and whose behavior is hard to understand and sometimes appalling. His inner conflicts are not spelled out for us. Instead, they are signalled by his agitation and heavy drinking, his strange dreams, and the film's fragmented editing. What accounts for his behavior becomes clearer in the end, but even then, the revelations do not exonerate him.This is a case where watching the film again with the director's commentary helps you come to terms with a story that departs so far from movie conventions. And you can begin to appreciate some of the creative choices made, from the script all the way through to post-production. After leaving his wife and child, abusing another man's trusting friendship, and drunkenly seducing women he finds in bars, the protagonist ironically meets his match by trying to "help" a woman in distress, whom he discovers is far more distressed than he has bargained for. This failed effort at self-redemption further confounds our interest in him. And so the film goes until the journey reaches its end, old questions are answered, some issues are resolved, and choices are made that may be the right ones for a change.The film was received less than enthusiastically by critics and audiences when it was released. It may some day gain more of a following and certainly deserves a higher regard. Billy Crudup, once again, shows a remarkable ability to live inside a complex and off-putting character. Julianne Moore (who for once is a director's wife on par with the other talent in the cast) and David Keith are excellent. The cinematograhy alternates shadowy night scenes and claustrophobic interiors with brilliant outdoor scenes and sweeping on-the-road landscapes that grow more striking as the characters move westward. The Willie Nelson songs on the soundtrack introduce an undertone of sweet sadness.I recommend this film for anyone who likes road movies and stories that depart from convention and require a patience and willingness to accept ambiguities for the clues they reveal about characters' inner lives."
Wandering along the edge
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WORLD TRAVELER is one of those films that sneaks up on you. Shot in a remembered/dreamed/imagined/reality melange the gifted writer/director never lets us forget that decisions we make are very much driven by the moment in which we make them. Quite simply outlined, Billy Crudup plays a young husband/father who suddenly leaves his 'comfortable' mariage and fatherhood and takes off for parts unknown to find a better life. He manages to encounter sex at every stop, bizarre fellow travellers in as much need as he, and finally ends up confronting his father on the opposite coast, a man who left him as a child in very much the same way. There are no resolutions here, just a plane of travel of the spirit that reinforces the idea that we rarely understand, much less appreciate, our own place in life....until we leave it or lose it. Superb acting from Billy Crudup, and especially Julianne Moore who once again proves that she can take on any role at all and find the essence of the character. The supporting cast is uniformly fine. A very solid film."
Not suitable for anyone to watch
Wendy Schroeder | Englewood, Co United States | 08/06/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A guy runs away from home on his son's 3rd birthday. Seeming to traveling aimlessly on I 80 west he drinks and plays around a lot. He's at a bar whining about waking up and seeing the same face everyday. Well, Schmuck, if that's not what you wanted you shouldn't have married! I found this self-centered creep annoying. Even when the trip ends with him confronting his runaway dad and finds closure I couldn't care less and I doubt if many viewers of this film cared what happened to him.