From the acclaimed director of CASANOVA, CHOCOLAT, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ... Academy Award(R) winners Robert Redford (Best Director, ORDINARY PEOPLE, 1980) and Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor, MILLION DOLLAR BABY... more », 2004) star in this powerful story of risk and redemption. Stoic and heartbroken, Einar Gilkyson (Redford) quietly lives in the rugged Wyoming ranchlands alongside his only trusted friend, Mitch Bradley (Freeman). Then, suddenly, the woman he blames for the death of his only son arrives at his door broke, desperate, and with a granddaughter he's never known. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. Also starring Jennifer Lopez (SHALL WE DANCE?) and Josh Lucas (SWEET HOME ALABAMA, GLORY ROAD).« less
I tried to watch this but the slowness bored me and I just quit watching it. If you really want to check it out, watch it on Netflix. That's what I did and was very disappointed especially with the all star cast of characters. Ratings on Amazon and here are inflated.
Katcha S. (Katcha) from FORT JONES, CA Reviewed on 1/25/2013...
Lovely movie with great actors in roles that show their hearts. A thoughtful review of human interactions, loss and renewing too.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Cathy D. from EDMOND, OK Reviewed on 8/10/2012...
Great movie, great actors
0 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY Reviewed on 12/21/2010...
a really good movie...worth watching and owning.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
KELLY B. from GLENS FALLS, NY Reviewed on 11/7/2009...
ALL ACTORS WERE GREAT IN THEIR ROLES OF THIS MOVIE...HEARTWARMING MOVIE,WITH A FEW LESSON OF LIFE.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Heather F. (8izenuff) from PHOENIX, AZ Reviewed on 9/12/2009...
An Unfinished life almost didnt get finished by me. I ended up watching the rest months later. I wanted to smack most of the characters.
2 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
3 1/2 star drama featuring fine performances, predictable st
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 09/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Einar (Robert Redford), a crusty old rancher, does what he can to hold onto his Wyoming ranch. It's been a struggle for years; his son was killed in a car crash, his wife left him, and his longtime friend and helper, Mitch (Morgan Freeman) was recently mauled by a bear. Now, Einar has to care for Mitch, administering morphine, helping him recover. Jean (Jennifer Lopez) and her daughter, Griff (Becca Gardner) have to leave Jean's current abusive boyfriend. The only place they can go is the ranch of Griff's grandfather, Einar, who learns of his granddaughter's existence upon their arrival. He doesn't exactly welcome them.
Lasse Halllstrom's newest film "An Unfinished Life" is being dumped by the studio. The first few weeks of September are always a dumping ground. People are too busy with "Back to School" to get excited about movies, so they stay away. The studios clear out some backlog, usually crap, waiting for attendance to pick up. While "An Unfinished Life" is certainly not groundbreaking, it is a very good film, and deserves some audience.
From the moment we realize Redford's crusty old rancher character is going to take in his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, you will be able to predict just about every moment of the extremely predictable story. Something else needs to catch our attention, to keep us watching. That "something" is the performances.
While the stories of Lasse Hallstrom's films ("The Cider House Rules", "Chocolat", "The Shipping News") may veer towards the schmaltzy, maudlin and/ or predictable, he is generally able to get interesting performances from his actors. In "The Cider House Rules", Michael Caine brought his character to life, earning another Academy Award and overshadowing his co-stars, Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron. In "Chocolat", Juliette Binoche shined, once again. In "An Unfinished Life", all four leads do a very good job.
Robert Redford ("Spy Game"), surprisingly, is the biggest revelation. As the central character, he is in perhaps 80% of the film, so he is onscreen for a long time, allowing his character to develop the most fully. Once he establishes how "crusty" and "set in his ways" Einar is, Redford is able to start revealing the more subtle aspects of his character. The fact that he has to care for both a sick person and his granddaughter may seem overdone, and it is, but this also gives his character the most opportunity for change. Redford deserves credit for making this believable and watch able. Throughout, he is always ornery and gruff, yet when his character is caring for Mitch, we understand that Mitch is perhaps the one person who gets him and won't put up with any of his crap. As he interacts with his granddaughter, he lightens up a bit when he realizes she is well-mannered. The performance is subtle, well-rounded and may be some of Redford's best work in years.
Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby") has played the "wise sage" role many times and always does a good job. He doesn't add a lot to the character in this film, but his role is central to the rest of the film. Without his character, there would be little balance and we wouldn't be as invested in the other characters. His character's subplot is interesting; because he was mauled by this bear, he now has a connection with the bear and feels responsible for the animal.
Becca Gardner does a very good job of creating the character of Griff, Einar's granddaughter. She is a tough little girl (without being overly precocious) and doesn't shy away from either of the older gentleman. This is a good example of her upbringing and helps to make her character and her mom's character more real. Jean's (Lopez) series of abusive relationships has made Griff a tougher person because she has to look out for herself, at times, and help her mom make the right decisions.
Lopez ("Monster-In-Law") also does a good, fairly consistent job. She is very believable for most of the film. Later, as she relates how her parents moved from Mexico and settled in San Antonio, her character breaks into a Texas accent. When this scene is over, the accent disappears just as quickly. This is really the only false note in her character, in any of the characters for that matter.
Josh Lucas and Camryn Manheim play locals in the small Montana town who help Jean and have an impact on her life. Both are also good.
As "Unfinished" progresses, you get to know the characters and feel for them.
The film was finished approximately two to three years ago, but Miramax held it for a while and then they went through a period of unsettlement as the founding Weinstein Brothers parted ways with the company they founded and Disney, the company that purchased Miramax a number of years ago. It is also a difficult film to sell in the current marketplace. The lead is 68 and his friend is also 68, not exactly the type of marquee value likely to attract that all important 13 - 24 male demographic. The fact that the film contains no car chases, no visual nudity, no visual sex and no special effects doesn't help either. Hopefully, the rest of us, who appreciate fine acting, will make it to this film and make that all important demographic a little less important. "
A beautiful thoughtful movie
Leigh Ann | California | 09/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a character driven movie with solid performances from Redford, Lopez, and Freeman. Although it is not a comedy, there are many funny lines and character quirks that make you want to keep watching. Each character is on a journey of healing past wounds and is dependent on the others for guidance and insight. As with the movie 'The Horse Whisper' the beauty of the land is breathtaking. It is a thoughtful movie that doesn't rush anything. I loved this movie and would recommend it if you are willing to be patient with the slow pace of the story."
No Classic, but Not Worthy of the Disregard the Studio Displ
J. Merritt | 07/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The scuttlebutt is that the studio let this film languish on the shelf for two years before a lukewarm release with practically no publicity. A close viewing does not reveal the reasons for the hesitation; while far from a classic, "An Unfinished Life" does provide solid entertainment, beautiful scenery, and the considerable charisma of stars Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman. Sure it's plot about a crotchety old farmer (Redford) reunited with his granddaughter (Becca Gardner) and daughter-in-law (Jennifer Lopez) reaches a predictable conclusion; sure it's full of obvious symbolism (Freeman isn't so much a character as an ongoing moral voice, and then there's the bear); and sure J-Lo gets acted off the screen in every one of her scenes (even with the child). Nonetheless, the director keeps the film visually engrossing, and if nothing else it is a monument to how Redford and Freeman can easily carry even weak material. Not necessarily worth a purchase, but worthy of a rental."
A Wonderful Surprise
Roger D. Hyman | Knoxville, TN USA | 05/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My wife came home with a rented DVD tonight; although I pride myself on trying to keep up with the latest films--what's good, what's not, etc., I had never even *heard* of this film. But I looked at the cast: Redford, Freeman (who is *always* good!), J Lo (yawn--but I was surprised!), etc., I thought "OK, I'll watch".
I was hooked with the opening scene, as a Grizzly Bear wanders through the Wyoming landscape; then, it took a little while for the film to get going, but then it started "clicking". What makes this film work on so many levels is the brilliant acting of Robert Redford (his finest in *years*--he should have been nominated for an Oscar for this one), Morgan Freeman (again, as always), and even J Lo turns in a credible performance. The little girl is very believable, as well.
The film's themes of the importance of family, forgiveness, redemption, etc are handled very well. And all of this against an absolutely gorgeous Wyoming background which was mesmerizing on my Widescreen TV!
This film was HIGHLY satisfying, and I'm going to order it ASAP. Get this and watch it with your family; you won't be sorry."