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The Straight Story


Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Jane Galloway Heitz, Joseph A. Carpenter View All


David Lynch (Director), John Roach (Screenplay), Mary Sweeney (Screenplay) View All

Release: Oct. 15th, 1999
Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes
A retired farmer and widower in his 70s, Alvin Straight learns one day that his distant brother Lyle has suffered a stroke and may not recover. Alvin is determined to make things right with Lyle while he still can, but his brother lives in Wisconsin, while Alvin is stuck in Iowa with no car and no driver's license. Then he hits on the idea of making the trip on his old lawnmower, thus beginning a picturesque and at times deeply spiritual odyssey.
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Given how the film is an appropriately straightforward road movie where Alvin is frequently on his own or interacting with new people in virtually each scene, it helps that Farnsworth more than holds his own by playing a likeable gentleman who gets along with just about everyone he meets but who carries enough personal demons to cast a shadow over the film's seemingly mawkish premise.
Very impressive that an extremely theatrical director like David Lynch could provide such loving and simplistic direction to this quiet story that actually does provide a couple of detours we don't see coming, even though, for some reason, from the minute the film begins, we never doubt that Alvin is going to get to see his brother.