“The Straight Story” 1999, 112 minutes, G
Film and discussion afterwards.
Director: David Lynch, Writers: John Roach, Mary Sweeney; Stars: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton
Awards: 16 wins and 29 nominations
The Straight Story is a small miracle on the big screen. David Lynch, who has cooked up so many movies about sick and twisted people doing sick and twisted things, has always had a keen radar for stories of spiritual conflict in seemingly ordinary circumstances. His heroes are always flawed, and they often fail. His villains have fascinating characteristics that keep them human and make us believe they might be redeemable. The Straight Story is no exception in that its central character has many weaknesses, and so do the others he meets along the way.
The difference here is that Lynch has chosen to focus on the good in these folks, instead of the perverse. The result is an uplifting and rare experience, a movie that demonstrates the values of savoring the day before it passes us by, and exhorts us to seek reconciliation with those who might be estranged from us.
The film is based on a true story. I don’t know how much is historical truth, how much fiction, but truth about life, love, and forgiveness rings out loud and clear in every episode of this story. — Jeffrey Overstreet
The Straight Story is another example of David Lynch's incredible ability to connect us with the extraordinary as he did in The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Lost Highway. Only here what happens is not weird but wonderfully human. This film also offers a rich sauna for the senses with the crisp and beautiful photography by Freddie Francis and the lyrical bluegrass music by composer Angelo Badalamenti. — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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