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About Schmidt (2002)

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A man upon retirement embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4,178 ( 855)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 67 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Venhuizen ...
Cheryl Hamada ...
Gary Nordin - Warren's Replacement
Randall's Best Man (as James Micheal Connor)
Jill Anderson ...


Warren Schmidt has led a safe, predictable life working in the insurance industry in Omaha, Nebr. for many years, yet now faces retirement. At the same time he is forced to take a hard look at his wife, his life and his relationship with his estranged daughter. An often hilarious series of events follow as Schmidt embarks on an unpredictable RV journey to attend his daughter's wedding in Denver. Written by wacoastguy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Schmidt Happens


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Confissões de Schmidt  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$282,367 (USA) (13 December 2002)


$65,010,106 (USA) (23 May 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Once the filmmakers bought the rights to the Louis Begley novel, they kept the title and the main character but changed just about everything else. In the book, the main character lived in the Hamptons and his daughter was about to marry a lawyer. See more »


In the opening scene, while Warren Schmidt is sitting in his office watching the clock, the telephone, and especially the phone cable, repeatedly change positions on the desk between shots. See more »


Warren Schmidt: [On top of Winnebago at night talking to his dead wife] Helen, what did you really think of me deep in your heart? Was I really the man you wanted to be with? Was I? Or were you disappointed but too nice to show it?
See more »


Sentimental Lady
Written by Bob Welch (as Robert L. Welch)
Performed by Bob Welch
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

Great note on appreciating what you have while still have it
28 November 2003 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is an inspiring story. It teaches me so much about what is important in life. Jack Nicholson, with a great performance as Warren R. Schmidt is an example of an American middle class after retiring. For many years he has worked as an actuary at a big insurance company. After retiring, Jack at home, while watching television, he decides to sponsor a six years old boy (Ndugu) from Tanzania. Sending a check of US$ 22,00 every month, he is also required to write a letter to the boy. In the process of writing these letters, he vents out to the boy about his life frustrations, his lost dreams and the dilemma he is in. He is married for forty-two years with his wife Helen (June Squibb) and he has a daughter living in Denver, Jeannie Schmidt (Hope Davis) who will marry a looser pretty soon. He misses his daughter. A few days after his retirement, his wife dies, and Jack realizes how important the wife was in his life now even though he never appreciated her. The director of the movie, Alexander Payne takes the audiences with Jack on a trip in a trailer to visit specific places in America. He mainly makes Jack visit the places where he has been before physically but at the same time Jack was revisiting his own life inside. In this trip he realizes what really matters in life - friendship, family and sharing- then why it is important to appreciate them whenever you have a chance.

In 'Citizen Kane' (1941), the director Orson Welles portrays the same idea when creating Mr. Kane. The movie is more than the story of a tycoon's rise and fall; it is an account of what is ultimately important in a person's life. Even though Kane attains riches and prestige, he is far from happy. He ends with two failed marriages and few friends. At his dying bed, all he has left is his reminiscences - and something called "Rosebud." In 'About Schmidt' the director Alexander Payne uses voiceover to convey Jack's thoughts and memories throughout the movie. To be specific it is when Jack is writing a letter to the boy he sponsors - (Ndugu), at the same time Payne is informing the audience about Jack's regrets and pain concerning his wife and daughter while the movie is still rolling on. I think this is a great technique.I believe this has been a great adventure and wake up call to many Americans as to what is important in life and why we should cherish every moment of it.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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