Why can't we all be Mumford?
James Hiller | Beaverton, OR | 05/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the absolutely charming and touching film "Mumford", Lawrence Kasdan manages to do something uncommon in most films today. He creates a troupe of characters which are complex, dynamic, and full. In today's mainstream slop, where chatacters sometimes rate third underneath facades of plots and special effects, it was so nice to sit back, relax, and get to know the inhabitants of Mumford.The story itself is never out of control or totally unbelievable. That's because you fall in love with the town and its inhabitants almost from the start. Mumford becomes the community we all want to live in, and not because its a quiet little town, but the people that make up that town. You are drawn in to Mumford's reality, and even in the town's imperfections, you find the happiness that undercurrents everything. Quite amazing feeling tone for a film to create.Loren Dean pulls off his role as the town's new psychologist with such ease and grace, you yourself wish you could be on his couch. Hope Davis is aboslutely radiant as well, complementing but never outshining her counterpart. A favorite and underappreciated actress of mine, Alfre Woodard, shine and glows in her small but pivotal role. I highly recommend Mumford. I watched it on DVD and longed for the usual treats that DVD brings, but no director's commentary and very few extra features here. Still, rent or buy Mumford today!"
Watch this film and call me in the morning.
Anthony Hinde | Sydney, Australia | 11/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Only in America could a small town be host to three psychologist/psychiatrist practitioners. As an Australian, where it is still shameful to need any kind of mental doctoring, I have long been sceptical of the whole head shrinking profession. Not "L. Ron Hubbard sceptical" but still wary. So it was with some surprise that "Mumford" opened my eyes. Its portrayal of the town's new counsellor makes me want to get therapy. Young Dr Mumford, not to be confused with the town of the same name, is quiet, attentive, honest and tough with his clients. He's more like an old friend than one of Freud's illegitimate offspring.Strangely, Dr Mumford, (Loren Dean), while the center of the story, is the least unusual character in the film. Typical of Lawrence Kasdan's scripts, the main cast is large and yet well fleshed out. In a way, because we meet most of them within the setting of a psychologist's office, their problems seem more real. At least there, one is expected to lay problems out for an audience. It seems so much more natural than the traditional emotional breakdown or a verbal outpouring to a stranger in a bar.For the record we get to know a pharmacist with vivid soft-porn fantasies, a wealthy housewife with a shopping compulsion, a tough teenage girl suffering with esteem issues, a fatigued woman forced under the care of her domineering mother and a wealth but friendless inventor who is obsessed with creating a mechanical solution to his loneliness. Even the non-patients are fascinating despite having smaller roles. I particularly like Martin Short's lawyer and Ted Danson's work-a-holic father.Compared to the other therapists in town, Mumford is a breath of fresh air. He won't put up with [anything] from his clients and it is very enjoyable to watch him kick the local Lawyer out of his office during their first session, apparently just for being a self centered jackass. In another departure from tradition, the Doc makes little attempt to hold his clients confessions in confidence; at least not from Skip, the town's young, eccentric billionaire. But to be fair, Mumford doesn't keep his own secrets from Skip either, and as we find out eventually, his secrets are much more interesting than those his patients reluctantly divulge.The pace of the film is relatively slow but Kasdan is such a skilled storyteller that I would have been happy if it had never stopped. However, change is inevitable and in Dr. Mumford's case change takes the shape of a winsome yet beautiful patient named Sofie, who has been plagued by chronic fatigue syndrome for years. This is not one of those cookie cutter romances, dropped into the film to keep the female audience happy. As flexible as Mumford's profession ethics are, he can't bring himself to express his growing love for his patient, even after she confesses her feeling for him. It is this dilemma that forces Mumford to take a big step in his life."Mumford" is a film for voyeurs and for anyone interested in people. You get the feeling that, Despite their flaws, everyone in the film is worth knowing. Perhaps that is the message Kasdan is trying to deliver. Everybody has a story to tell, if only you dig far enough. And who better to do the digging than a psychologist with his own unique story to tell."
Darshan | Houston, TX USA | 08/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm very impressed how Loren Dean was able to create such a likable three dimensional character in this film. Although the one "villainess" in the town is more or less unexamined, the psyches of the various townsfolk and the main character's exploration of them make for fascinating and insightful fare. Dr. Mumford is a person I would love to know. This movie struck me as one that would be difficult to end without either being disappointing and sad or falsely sweet, and the director/writer struck just the right balance."
Terrific, underrated comedy
Darshan | 11/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sophisticated, understated, warm and knowing, Mumford is a breezy but ultimately moving testament to the healing power of love. Full of quirky characters and unexpected turns, the biggest surprise is that this never found an audience in the theaters. Not every characterization is note-perfect -- Martin Short is over the top and out of place here, and several of the patient's problems are drawn a bit broadly -- but the central performances by Loren Dean, Hope Davis and especially Jason Lee are extremely winning. In the end the movie leaves you feeling terrific...and sighing that even when they *do* "make 'em like they used to," modern audiences seem to be too overstimulated to notice."