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About Schmidt
About Schmidt
Actors: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates, June Squibb
Director: Alexander Payne
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
R     2003     2hr 5min

Warren Schmidt (Nicholson) is about to taste a not so sweet slice of life. When he retired, he and his wife Helen had big plans, but an unexpected twist changed everything. Now, all of Schmidt's attention is focused his da...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates, June Squibb
Director: Alexander Payne
Creators: Alexander Payne, Bill Badalato, Harry Gittes, Michael Besman, Rachael Horovitz, Jim Taylor, Louis Begley
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/03/2003
Original Release Date: 12/20/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 12/20/2002
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 70
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Mark H. (djmark) from MONTEREY PARK, CA
Reviewed on 10/16/2020...
This movie has the slow peaceful vibe of David Lynch's 'straight story', but the ride and emotional tugs are worth the trip. A Man retires, plans to spend time with his wife on their new RV and plans go awry.

Lessons learned, laughter and tears all played out in an engaging story.
Reviewed on 1/18/2015...
I decided to watch this movie and again. It was actually pretty good. Worth the watch.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kristian L. (Katomine) from PRESCOTT, AZ
Reviewed on 9/18/2013...
Such a great film. Jack Nicholson once again excels in a great role!
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tracy B. (MooVeeFreak) from CARTHAGE, TN
Reviewed on 3/24/2011...
Jack Nicholson, in one of his less well known roles as Warren Schmidt, really does excel one again in a really touching performance. One which is was Oscar nominated along with Kathy Bates( in an hilarious performance.) One to watch!
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is about Warren Schmidt, a Nebraskan in his mid sixties, who is newly retired from his job as assistant vice president for an insurance firm. He is clearly a man who is not in touch with his feelings or his life, living it by the book, so to speak. He is disconnected from the reality around him, living as unobtrusively as he can. This is evident right from the beginning of the film. His life really begins when he retires, as a series of life jarring changes occur. His wife of forty two years, Helen (June Squibb), suddenly dies. She is a domineering woman whom he loved on some level but for whom he was unable to express much feeling while she was still living, even though there were many things about her that irritated him. She, however, managed to have had a secret life of which he had not been a part. It seems that she was not all that satisfied with Schmidt, herself. It is an unwelcome surprise that colors his world when he discovers it but, at the same time, serves to begin to ease the pain of separation for him. There are some funny scenes that segue from this discovery.Their only child, Jeannie (Hope Davis), lives in Denver, Colorado and is about to get married to Randall Hertzel (Dermot Mulroney), a dimwitted, waterbed salesman whom Schmidt cannot abide. He learns some truths about the real status of his own relationship with his daughter, Jeannie, and it is not the idealized relationship that he thought he had. In fact, he learns just how disconnected he is from his daughter, who is really a veritable stranger to him, as was his wife. Moreover, not even his best friend, Ray (Lou Cariou), was whom Schmidt thought him to be.When Schmidt travels to Colorado for the wedding, he stays with the groom's mother, Roberta Hertzel, a much married, earthy, and passionate divorcee, who is comfortable with herself and not afraid to express her feelings. She is a sort of flower child/earth mother holdover from the late nineteen sixties, early seventies. She tries to make a connection with him but this proves to be too much for Schmidt, as he scurries for cover to the Winnebago in which he travels.Lacking an emotional connection with any other human being, Schmidt sponsors a six year old, Tanzanian child through a charitable agency, and begins sending him letters, detailing his life as he sees it. It is more of a catharsis for Schmidt, rather than an attempt at real communication with a child. This contrivance also serves to tell the viewer just how Schmidt perceives his life. When he receives a letter with something the child has sent him, the idea that someone has actually thought of him opens the emotional floodgates for Schmidt and unleashes all those repressed feelings of anger, sadness, loss, pain, suffering, in one fell swoop. Jack Nicholson gives an excellent performance as the repressed Midwesterner who only begins to get in touch with his feelings the end of his life spectrum. He gives a good account of a man who is making his way in, what is for him, uncharted territory. Funny, poignant and sad, it is a performance that is well nuanced. June Squibb is perfectly cast in the role of the Helen, Schmidt's wife. Her apple cheeked countenance and dumpy, matronly look exemplify the stereotypic senior citizen housewife. Helen's penchant for order and cleanliness is brought home by Ms. Squibb's performance, and Helen fittingly dies while vacuuming the laundry room. Kathy Bates is wonderful as the somewhat bohemian, earth mother figure in the film. Her much talked about nude scene was natural and in keeping with her role. I applaud her courage in doing it, given the emphasis on thinness in Hollywood. While many reviled her for doing it, hers is a much more realistic reflection of what the body of a woman in her fifties or sixties actually looks like. Let me tell you, Jack Nicholson's body doesn't look much better either, but he was not reviled for it. There still continues to be a double standard for men and women, when it comes to excess avoirdupois.Dermot Mulroney is terrific as the sensitive, easy going groom to be who seems to lack the full quid. Mulroney makes his character quite a likable one. Unfortunately, Hope Davis, as Jeannie Schmidt, serves to make her character a thoroughly unpleasant one. It is unclear, however, whether this was the intended effect. Howard Hesseman is wonderful as the groom's father, Larry Hertzel, and he gets a lot of mileage out of this bit part. Lou Cariou is excellent as Schmidt's erstwhile best friend, Ray.All in all, this a film well worth watching. The baby boomers out there should take note. It is still not too late to avoid ending up like Schmidt."
Facing the "golden" years with sorrow.
E. Bukowsky | NY United States | 12/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

""About Schmidt" is a wonderful movie starring the great Jack Nicholson, who plays the hapless retiree, Warren Schmidt. Warren lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and he is put out to pasture after a long career with an insurance company. Warren hates retirement, for which he is ill-prepared. In addition, Helen, Warren's wife of forty-two years, irritates him with her annoying habits and idiosyncrasies. Worst of all, Jeannie, Warren's beloved only child, is engaged to a man whom Warren cannot stand.When Warren suddenly becomes a widower, he takes stock of his life, and he is appalled at how empty it is. In desperation, Warren starts to write rambling letters to his Tanzanian foster child, Ndugu. (Warren sends the child twenty-two dollars a month in response to a television appeal). Even though Ndugu is six years old and cannot read, Warren pours his heart into these letters as a means of venting his anger and frustration.Alexander Payne, who directed "About Schmidt" and shares credit for writing the fine screenplay, has done a commendable job of eliciting strong performances from an excellent cast. Kathy Bates is a hoot as Jeannie's future mother-in-law, and both Len Cariou and Howard Hesseman shine in small roles. The film, however, belongs to Jack Nicholson, who appears in practically every frame. Nicholson acts with his entire body. He does wonders with a raised eyebrow, a half-smile, a gesture or a glance. In one hilarious scene, Nicholson does battle with a waterbed and loses. Nicholson captures the very essence of Warren Schmidt, a man who will never be ready for the first day of the rest of his life. Don't miss "About Schmidt" if you want to see one of the best performances of this or any year."
A movie for grown ups that packs an emotional wallop
Lois Regen | Seattle, WA USA | 12/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Jack Nicholson shines in his sensitive, tour de force performance as Warren Schmidt, the vice president of an insurance company who finds retirement anything but fulfilling. In fact, his world starts to crumble in short order, along with his relationships, his priorities and his very sanity. A superficial reading would pigeonhole Schmidt as Willy Loman retread, minus the heart condition, but Alexander Payne plumbs deeper emotional currents with this wonderful film - the sort of film that reminds you why you go to movies in the first place. To the director's credit, the film never crosses the line (so common in today's Hollywood "output") of ridiculing its characters and their sensibilities. Make no mistake: Midwestern middle-class values go under the magnifying glass, but just when the viewer starts to feel superior, zing! Payne pulls you back from the brink, and you find yourself caring deeply about Warren Schmidt and his universal predicament. The editing, the supporting cast (especially Kathy Bates), and the cinematography are well-nigh perfect, which allow Nicholson to soar. The layers of his character, a man who sees the truth but dares not express it to the people closest to him, come to a boil of mixed emotions of anger, fear and despair by the film's last scenes and transcendent finale."