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As the seasons change in a Connecticut town, two men of different age and backgrounds who work together outdoors for the local park system, share thoughts and feelings that gradually deepen into a relationship approaching father and son. Paul is just out of prison for armed robbery, assigned to work with Murph, a middle-aged vet whose grown son Bobby is dying. Paul is trying to control his temper and build a spiritual side based on reading. Murph is a down-to-earth Sancho Panza to Paul's more ethereal ideas. And Murphy seems to need forgiveness for mistakes as a dad. As Murphy's retirement approaches and winter sets in, the men talk and love blossoms. Written by
Murph and Paul seem to be the least likely candidates of this beautiful tale of male bonding and friendship that director Tom Gilroy, working with his original material, brought to the screen with excellent results.
The director couldn't have been luckier in the choice he made in casting Ned Beatty and Liev Schrieber to give life to these two opposite characters, that deep down share a lot in common. We see the men as they begin working together, in a way distrusting one another, but soon realizing their relationship at work translates in everlasting friendship.
Mr. Gilroy gets nuanced performances out of the two leading actors that seem to compliment one another in ways that perhaps, even the director, didn't expect. Mr. Beatty and Mr. Schreiber are actors that look and act totally convincing in the roles they are playing. In minor parts we see Campbell Scott, Ian Hart and Peri Gilpin, among others doing excellent work under Tom Gilroy's sure direction.
Mr. Gilroy has to be congratulated for giving us a story that is unusual and it affirms our faith in humanity.
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