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Frank, a retired Irish seaman, and Walter, a retired Cuban barber, are two lonely old men trapped in the emptiness of their own lives. When they meet in a park Frank is able to start a conversation after several attempts. They begin to spend time together and become friends. But because of their different characters they often quarrel with each other and finally seperate after Frank misbehaves to Walter's friend Elaine. Written by
Matthias Scheler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In life, one of the simple pleasures for me is getting a haircut, closing your eyes and feeling someone's massaging fingers on your scalp, snipping your wet hair, in the caring hands of an old pro. I came to this fifteen minutes in -- I hope I didn't miss anything crucial -- but in a way, the movies we watch having missed a portion are always more interesting. This is a just a small, easy slice-of-life drama -- a perfect example of a "good little movie," the kind to watch on a Sunday afternoon with someone you love. An actor who never stops taking chances and a master of understatement, Robert Duvall slides into his role of a humble, honorable, respecting Cuban so perfectly here and he's complemented by excellent work from Richard Harris, as the well-meaning but coarse drunken loudmouth ex-sailor in the park he befriends out of a need to simply not be alone anymore. Because of their mastery, we grow so attached to these fully-formed characters that it honestly hurts to leave.
The film is exceptionally well-paced, and written with fresh dialogue and immensely touching observances. There's a scene where Duvall learns his favorite waitress is moving away (Sandra Bullock, with appropriate charm), and the expression on his face and hesitance in his speech rips your heart clean out. Then there's the buried disappoint on his face when he sees her reaction to the farewell gift of vodka suggested by Harris. Where Duvall has his junior league baseball games and poignant dancing in his apartment (alone), Harris gets positively hostile towards a woman (Piper Laurie) in a movie theater (where he works, thanks to a spiffy haircut by Duvall) and Shirley MacLaine, also in his housing complex. The plot is thin but in the meandering vignettes there are superb moments, like Harris accosting Duvall in the street about his fantasy of dancing (whether it comes true, you'll have to watch), or later, Duvall insisting that Harris be a well-dressed gentleman at all times. The sentimental score and old time Cuban music enhance the movie; it's quiet and wonderful -- the years may fly by, but the summer days are nice and slow. 9/10
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