Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Straight Story (1999) - Drama

I love movies made out of real stories and this one was exceptionally good as its Directed by one of my all time favorite Directors – David Lynch. And let me tell you this – up front that this is one David Lynch movie which stands out from all of his others works in such a way that you would not be able to tell if it belongs to him, unless you already know that it is. You are going to love it – if you have a sibling and you are going to love it more if you have differences in between. You are going to love it more – if you are a born roadie like me – who wants to drive anywhere he goes and not like being driven. This one is based on the life of Alvin Straight, a World War II veteran; his estranged brother suffers a stroke and Alvin goes to meet him one final time to amend their differences before it’s too late. Unfortunately because of his age and bad health – he couldn’t get a drivers license hence he does one final road trip on a Lawnmower (a baby tractor made in 1966), how his journey goes is the movie all about – the ending is one heartwarming stuff – it’s a must watch for all serious movie lovers especially by those who love drama’s in real life. This will blow you out of your minds like it did to me to plan those road trips I’ve been postponing for years thinking whether I would be able to do them or not – if he can do it on a lawnmower – I definitely can do better than that in my car. Do not miss it guys at any cost – it deserves a watch by everyone, teaches you damn good lessons as it goes on.

The Movie: Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) stays in Laurens, Iowa with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek) who is mental disability. He is a very simple down to earth guy who is surviving on his Social Security Check. He has a gang of friends who hang out every day at a bar in town – one fine day when he doesn’t turn up to the bar – a friend visits him and to his horror realizes that he has crashed on the floor and couldn’t get up on his own for hours. With some help they drag him to a hospital and doctor advices to take good rest and do not move much or smoke or drink at all, to which he pays no heed as he is a hard nut to crack anyways. One fine day he gets the news that his brother had a stroke – now he hasn’t met or spoken to him in like last ten years. To mend their differences and meet him one last time – he plans a road trip to Mt Zion, Wisconsin which is 250 miles from his place – that too on his Lawnmower as he has no other vehicle and a driving license to do the trip. He is too stubborn to be driven, doesn’t likes flying or any other mode of transport. His lawnmower goes as far as a couple of miles before finally conking off – what he does with that is a scene to watch out on screen – let me tell you in advance – you will be shocked and will be in splits too watching it happen. Next day – he ends up buying another lawnmower this time a 1966 John Deere Mini Tractor – tows his home made travel trailer with it. How he walks with the help of those two sticks and how he gets down every time from his tractor is something you’ve got to see it to believe it – yet he was determined to do the whole trip on his own without bothering or taking anybody else’s help.

On his way to Mt Zion he meets a lot of people on the way and goes through a lot of hardship but its commendable to see his determination to do the trip and meet his brother one last time before it’s too late. On his way he helps a young girl hitchhiking her way to the next town – she sleeps over in his trailer for the night before going off early in the morning and as a token of thanks – she collects wood sticks and leaves them near his trailer – it was such a heart warming gesture on her part and the way he helps and talks to her is another highlight of the movie. Its gives you quite an insight on his own life with his daughter. He faces quite a tuff time going on the freeway with big trucks moving at fast speed, with rains coming in between – he takes shed at a couple of places before reaching the next town where his motor develops some technical snag and he had to take a break. The people that he meets in the next town too are shocked and amazed by his determination – they all help him repair his tractor, he pays them too with his Social Security check and goes off to meet his brother. The final scene of the movie is another highlight – it had me in tears big time. I missed my own brother who I haven’t met in years – seeing this scene.

I myself have done quite a lot of road trips in last one decade and plan to do so much in very near future. This movie indeed touched me inside out and made my determination stronger for the trip we’ve been postponing for quite a while now – I guess the time has come for me to do it now. Such was the impact of this one – do not miss it any cost – I am sure you will love it – as it has so much to learn from it. Let me know if you have seen this already – what you feel about it.

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