Based on the true story that captured the hearts of America, THE STRAIGHT STORY is one of those rare films offering powerful, uplifting entertainment for audiences of all ages. Directed by acclaimed director David Lynch (W... more »ILD AT HEART, MULHOLLAND DRIVE), this gentle, inspiring film celebrates the human spirit. Richard Farnsworth (MISERY, THE NATURAL) stars as Alvin Straight -- a no-nonsense man who has never been one to lean on others. Now at an age when his eyesight denies him the ability to drive and walking is accomplished only with the help of two canes, Alvin lives a quiet life with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek). But when the call comes that Alvin's estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton, THE GREEN MILE) has suffered a debilitating stroke, Alvin embarks on a dangerous and emotional journey to make amends. With little money, but plenty of patience and tenacity, he climbs aboard his 1966 John Deere lawnmower and plots the 260-mile course from his small Iowa town to Lyle's home in Wisconsin. Filmed along the actual route that the real Alvin Straight traveled in 1994, THE STRAIGHT STORY is a heartwarming and poignant drama chronicling Alvin's six-week odyssey and the many lives he touches along the way.« less
"It's a journey of the soul as a man goes home in his heart, in this dramatization of the true story of Alvin Straight, who drove a lawn mower over three-hundred miles through the state of Iowa and into Wisconsin, to see his brother, a stroke victim with whom he had not spoken for ten years. "The Straight Story," directed by David Lynch, recounts the story of Alvin (Richard Farnsworth), who set out to see his brother, Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), upon hearing of his stroke. Alvin is prevented from driving because of poor eyesight, and he won't take a bus because he doesn't trust another's driving. A widower who lives with his daughter, Rose (Sissy Spacek), Alvin, not a man of means, resorts to the only way he knows how, to get to Lyle. He needs to put the bad blood behind them before it's too late; an estrangement born of "anger and pride." Hauling a make-shift trailer, and with three five-gallon cans of gas and a cooler full of hot dogs, Alvin sets out, alone and determined, on his lawn mower. Now in the twilight of his life, having learned to "separate the wheat from the chaff," the trip affords Alvin plenty of time to reflect on his life, and steels him in his quest to do what he feels he has to do. Along the way he befriends and is befriended by the strangers he encounters; a testimony to the bountifulness of the human spirit. When a young man asks him what the worst thing is about being old, he replies, "Remembering when you were young." Richard Farnsworth gives the performance of a lifetime as Alvin, this stubborn, prideful man, who has learned humility with age, and you can see the wisdom of his years in his eyes. Farnsworth connects with the audience from the beginning, aptly conveying the yearning of a soul in need of atonement, and the determination of the man to effect his amends. Sissy Spacek, also, gives a terrifically nuanced performance as Rose, the "slow" daughter who lives daily with demons of her own. That the members of the Academy failed to nominate her for best-supporting actress for her work here is nothing short of criminal; her Rose is a beautiful piece of work. David Lynch, as well, has done a remarkable job of bringing Alvin's story to the screen. He has woven a rich visual and emotional tapestry, all poignantly delivered with a gentle hand. Beautifully photographed, the lush vistas of the Midwest reflect Alvin's state of mind, underscoring the deeper meanings of what is really a spiritual journey, during which the past mingles with the present. Lynch has taken a wistful, almost poetic approach throughout, which, together with the story is reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries." The scene in which Alvin finally meets up with Lyle is perfectly and touchingly executed, and is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. The supporting cast includes James Cada (Danny), Everett McGill (Tom), Barbara E. Robertson (Deer Woman), John Farley (Thorvald), and Kevin P. Farley (Harold). With an artistic hand, Lynch has crafted an unforgettable film. "The Straight Story" is Alvin's story, but the journey belongs to us; a reminder of what is really important in life, and the needs we all share at one time or another. It's an entertaining movie that will touch you and make you think, as well; and as far as I'm concerned, that's about as good as it gets."
A simple beauty
Corey Slack | 06/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With 'The Straight Story' David Lynch has weaved together a subtle, fascinating story about age, regret, and family. The tale is of Alvin Straight, a 73 year old man who has seen most of what life has to dish out and learns that his brother suffered a stroke. With bad eyes and no license, he sets out on a journey on a riding lawnmower to see his brother, who he hasn't spoken to in ten years.What I loved most about this movie is the simplicity; of the story, the characters, the filming. Yet within that classic style is a movie that is incredibly moving. The stories that Alvin has to tell about his life are saddening, touching, and almost frightening. He talks about being old, about fighting in World War II, and about his regrets of not speaking to his brother. He runs into quite a few people along the way who help him out, and their stories contribute to a beautifully crafted script. Richard Farnsworth is convincing in the role of Alvin. His abilities are most especially outlined in the sad tone of his voice, and the look of regret and hope in his eyes. It is rare that I have grown to respect and adore a character so much. David Lynch's direction is not dark or creepy like his other works, but carefully and nicely photographed in great harmony with the script. The cinematography is smoothe, and the extended takes prove his abilities as a director and the actors abilities as well.This film is done in a classic manner, and the results are moving in a rare way. I sincerely hopes this film eventually gets the recognition it deserves."
A Well-Done & Heartwarming Drama For Your Enjoyment!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 06/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful one of a kind movie that showcases the marvelous acting talents of Richard Farnsworth. What a treat to witness his ability to convey a lifetime of emotions without saying a word, with a series of telling looks , sideways glances, and using his sheer innate ability to "emote" to tell his story. This movie shimmers with a fountain of pent-up, heart-felt, but tragically unspoken human emotions. Along the way, we also get to know and appreciate his emotionally challenged daughter, played well by Sissy Spacek. But this trip is really a Richard Farnsworth bravura one-man show. And what a show it is!We trip the light fantastic with him as he sets out to see a long-lost brother at the end of life, and we get to share in his ersatz adventures with an eclectic cast of all too-ordinary yet extraordinarily beautiful losers he encounters along the way. Of course, his trip on the John Deere is a trip toward himself and toward discovering a lot of things he needs to know to complete his life's journey. This is adult entertainment for the whole family, because it has such a wonderful ring of truth and integrity hovering over it, and an insight about life that lingers even after it's over. Every time I think about Alvin Straight being either naïve enough or ballsy enough to set out on this amazing journey it brings an involuntary smile to my face. He sure wasn't naïve. I think you'll like it too."
An Amazing Accomplishment
Dennis Osborne | Burbank, CA | 10/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A surprise and a total shock coming from David Lynch; a director who has, in my humble opinion, disappointed me more times than not. "The Straight Story" is simply the best film made in the last decade and will one day finally be regarded as the masterpiece it truly is. How Disney could have bungled the marketing of this great film is beyond reasoning. It is rated G but is no more of a "family" film than "The Tigger Movie" could be considered porn. Children could never understand its deliberate pacing and complex emotional core of patience and moral responsibility. By the end of the film I was choking back tears and so moved I could hardly get out of my seat. Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek give performances that make you remember what acting on film used to mean. Please do yourself a favor and watch it somewhere quiet with no interference so that you may listen and savor this extraordinary movie. There will not be any more like it for many, many years."
Richard Farnsworth transcends acting in this wonderful film
""The Straight story" was one of my favourite movies of 1999. It is a warm and gentle movie that is not overly sentimental. Every scene has just the right tone.Fans of David Lynch might be astonished when they hear that their master made a G-rated movie, but to my mind, it is one of Lynch's best films. I think that sometimes, his films are too freaky for their own good, but in "The Straight Story", he completely serves his screenplay and trusts his actors. Richard Farnsworth is really masterful as Alvin Straight. His performance is so effective that he almost moved me to tears. He shows us a man that hasn't lost his dignity despite being old and handicaped. But let's not forget the supporting cast with the outstanding Sissy Spacek. Other great contributions are made by cinematographer Freddie Francis and also by the score composer.I once wrote that Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" is not always poetic because it strives too hard to be just that. Cinematic poetry cannot be forced, it must develope out of the moment. "The Straight Story" is one of the most poetic films of the decade."